Choose your Attitude, It’s Showtime – How to Actually Care for Every Customer

Charles Swindoll once said:

We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. Our attitude is everything.

When delivering outstanding customer experiences (CX), our attitude might not be everything, but attitude is foundational to success. Here are five attitudinal qualities for your journey to customer experience excellence.

1) Positivity – Positive thinking is an antidote to the stress of customer interaction. CX professionals excel when they assume positive intent from those they serve (although sometimes they’re disappointed). Positivity, and its benefits, increase with practice. For example, a University of Kansas study found that smiling—even if somewhat forced—reduces blood pressure and heart rate during stressful times.”

2) Growth Mindset – Based on research captured in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford professor, Carol Dweck, suggests that a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset, leads to greater self-efficacy, and more creativity, and stronger relationships. In the context of CX, Dr. Dweck’s work on growth mindsets is helpful for embracing customer challenges, persisting in the face of setbacks, seeing effort as the path to mastery, leveraging feedback, and learning from the experiences of others.

3) Learning Agility – Warner Burke, Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, has studied the attitudes of individuals who adapt quickly to adversity. In their book, Learning Agility: The Key to Leader Potential, Dr. Burke and David Hoff show how we can increase our abilities to act on ideas rapidly, propose new solutions, experiment with new behaviors, seek new opportunities that challenge us, and assimilate learnings that we gain from experience.

4) Otherness – I made up this concept to reflect the opposite of “selfishness.” It involves reminding ourselves that as service professionals, “it isn’t about us.” We are in the business of caring for others; through that care, we meet our needs and enjoy fulfilled lives. Otherness must be balanced with assertiveness to ensure we don’t seek to fulfill unreasonable requests.

5) Humor and Play – Developing and maintaining a healthy sense of humor provides shock absorption for the bumps and emotional bruises that come from serving others. Allen Klein observed, “Humor can alter any situation and help us cope at the very instant we are laughing.”

Since so much of customer experience success is about mindset and attitude, it’s worthwhile to take a line from television psychologist Dr. Phil and ask,

How’s that current attitude working for you?

To learn more about ways to increase your team’s customer-centric mindset, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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