Imagine this. It’s 3am. You’re sound asleep. Then, BING – your eyes pop open as your mind replays a stressful service scenario from the day before. You failed with a customer. Or at least that’s how it feels.

Ready to get off the emotional roller coaster and get even better at creating strong customer loyalty during difficult times? These tips should help:

Manage your expectations. Stress happens when you resist reality. Expecting things to go smoothly all the time is unrealistic. What sets you apart and puts you at the top of your game is your ability to see stress as a challenge you can win, rather than a threat. Expect to be able to resolve any service challenge and you’re more likely to create a positive outcome.

Manage customer expectations. Being the best feels great. But how does it feel to deal with customers who have super high expectations? Instead of being annoyed, consider this: “High expectations are the price you pay for being known as the best.” You don’t get one without the other.

Get creative. As the saying goes – “Worry is a form of negative goal setting.” Instead of using your imagination to “dress rehearse a tragedy,” use it to ideate solutions to actual pressing problems. One way to do that is to look for outlets that generate more creative thinking.

Today’s action:

Anytime we can have fun, relieve stress and help our team behave in ways that enhance customer loyalty … do it! For stress relief AND employee engagement, give yourself and your team copies of COLOR THEIR WORLD: The Art of Creating Strong Customer Loyalty. It’s an innovative new coloring book filled with inspiration for creating strong customer loyalty. Created by Marilyn Suttle, co-author of “Who’s Your Gladys?”

Get the book. Then download a helpful Instruction Guide with effective ways to use “Color Their World” as a training and reinforcement tool here:




The following article is a how-to excerpt from “Taming Gladys! The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty.” Follow the instructions below to analyze the customer touchpoints in your department or at your business. Make an effort to enhance those touchpoints and watch your customer loyalty scores grow. 

A “customer touchpoint” is any point of contact you have with your customer, from an initial email correspondence or phone call through the purchase, and any subsequent communication about a service or product quality issue. And monitoring and enhancing these touchpoints is the secret to growing your customer loyalty.

In what specific ways do you provide an outstanding experience at those touchpoints? As you review each point of contact, choose how you will take responsibility to improve the customer experience. A great place to start is to diagram possible interactions that your Gladys may encounter.

Take a few minutes now and make a list of all of the major customer touchpoints – or the touchpoints that you manage – at your place of business. Be sure to include both in-person and virtual points of contact such as the entrance to your office, the telephone, email exchanges, your website, social media channels and more. Remember your internal customers, those inside your company who benefit from the work you do in any way. Consider each repetitive touchpoint with this group and how you personally manage their experience with you. Do you treat them as well as you do your external customers? For each area of interaction, using a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your current quality of service?

Touchpoints can include things like your company’s on-hold message or music, the time it takes to get an email or chat response, reading material in your lobby and any interaction your customer experiences, even if it may seem inconsequential. Are there things you can add or take away from each interaction to improve the quality of service?

Here’s a short list of examples to consider, all of which can make a big difference:

Personal Contact: Do you greet every Gladys with eye contact, a smile and a warm, genuine welcome when she arrives at your place of business? If you primarily care for customers using the telephone, do you include a warm, authentic smile in your voice when you speak to them? Do you read over every email or digital correspondence before you send it, to ensure it comes across as friendly?

The Five Senses: Make sure that what Gladys sees, hears, smells, feels and even tastes (coffee anyone?) at your place of business is Details Pave the Way to Loyalty 9 pleasing and represents your organization’s values. Is there a way you can amp up the experience?

What is Gladys Thinking? It helps to ask for feedback to measure the quality of the clients’ interactions with your company. You get what you measure, so tracking customer feedback over time is an important tool for improvement. There are so many methods for soliciting feedback, like a quick question at the end of a call. (“On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate our service today?” Or maybe, “What could we do to give you an even better experience next time?”) You can also solicit feedback via an easy-to-use online survey tool like

Track Your Customers’ Preferences: Ask your Gladys questions about her preferences, record those preferences and then use that information to be sure you’re properly meeting her needs the next time you do business with her. If there are issues that come up repeatedly or you have to request detailed information, pay attention to what approaches get the best response so that you become someone who continuously improves the experience for your customers. Be mindful of evolving your language as you “test and learn” what works best.

Please Note: Your particular set of touchpoints is unique to your business, so be sure to expand upon the examples we’ve provided.

Questions to Consider:

• On a scale of one to ten, how well do you serve different types of customers and their unique needs? How could you improve that score?

• Have you noticed if there are specific types of customers who are more enjoyable to work with than others? What could you do to better serve those who may not be the easiest for you to handle?

• Do you have a personal standard to make each touchpoint with customers and colleagues exemplary? If not, what would it take to create one?

Get your copy of “Taming Gladys! The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty” written by Marilyn Suttle and Lori Jo Vest here: Buy on Amazon


Lori Jo Vest is the co-author of Who’s Your Gladys? and Taming Gladys! Learn more about Lori on LinkedIn: Lori Jo Vest, Consultant/Author

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Frame from Trailer for New Customer Service BookUse this quick exercise to help everyone on your team to sharpen their service skills. It comes from our game-changing new customer service book, Taming Gladys: The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty which officially launches TODAY!

Team Exercise:

 Ask everyone on the team to pretend to be the customer and come up with one request that your company would have to reject. One by one, make the request and have each person write down his or her responses. 

Once written, have one person collect the answers and read them out loud. Repeat this with each team member’s customer request. You’ll notice the team becoming more skillful after each round. 

Why it works:

This simple exercise creates lasting changes in the way your team thinks and acts with customers. Why? They get to hear how their peers handle tough situations. They get to collaborate and practice new ways of approaching tough situations and share what they do that works. Doing this type of exercise will create positive changes in the way customers feel about your company.

Watch this trailer about our customer service book to learn more about Taming Gladys:

Our new customer service book Taming Gladys!gives you quick, easy-to-use-right-now ways of creating lasting customer loyalty that produces higher profits, word of mouth referrals and ongoing business success. Order your copy now and get a copy for everyone on your team. Check out our bonus offer at: