Was Your Mother Right? Classic Wisdom at the Heart of Customer Success


Delivering customer experience excellence is as simple as listening to your mom!

When I was 13, I thought I knew everything, and my parents knew nothing.

Eight years later, I was less sure of myself, and my parents seemed to have gotten a lot smarter.

Out of respect for parental wisdom, let’s look at five classic “momisms” to see how they can help elevate customer experiences.

1) Do your homework – Study evidence-based best practices of world-class customer experience brands and become an expert on the stated and unstated wants, needs, desires, values, and lifestyle preferences of your customers. In the words of Steve Jobs, Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”

2) If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all – Not all customers say “nice” things to those of us who provide service, but we must practice restraint. By balancing empathy with assertiveness, we ensure that we are not mistreated and resist the urge to say something to a customer that we will regret.

3) Because I’m your mother, that’s why – For this to apply, we need to replace “mother” with “customer.” I wouldn’t go as far as Cesar Ritz when he said, “the customer is always right.” However, the customer is ALWAYS the customer. As such, they deserve appreciation. They choose how and where they spend their time and money. When they choose your business, they should experience respect and love. In the words of Seth Godin, “It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.”

4) Now, say you’re sorry…and MEAN it – Service breakdowns happen, and most customers understand that people and businesses are imperfect. Unfortunately, companies sometimes minimize or don’t take responsibility for their shortcomings. Occasionally, brand representatives make excuses, blame the customer, or say something like, “I am sorry you feel that way.” World-class brands teach their teams to say, “I am sorry, that shouldn’t have happened to you. Let’s make this right.” People in these companies also show customers that their apology has meaning through responsible service recovery and a commitment to fix the root cause of problems.

5) Be careful what you wish for; it might come true – Leaders of today’s world-class customer experience brands once had a “wish” and a vision that they could differentiate their businesses through elevated customer experience. By enlisting their team in that vision and demonstrating concerted effort, those wishes and dreams have come true for the business and the customers they serve.

May your customer experience wishes and dreams be realized thanks to a little help from mom!

To learn more about driving common sense customer experience excellence, please contact me at josephmichelli.com/contact.

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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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