Customer service can set your business apart, or sink it

Posted On April 13, 2023

Business owners spend a lot of money getting customers to come in the door, creating marketing campaigns and buying advertising. Why is it, then, that so many of them send those same customers right back out the door with poor customer service?

“Bottom line, it’s respect,” Pam Denham, one of Alabama’s leading customer service trainers, said of its importance. “It’s really not that hard to do these things and be set apart from other businesses because so few people are aware of it.”

Denham, who joined us in the latest episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” has run her own marking and public relations firm, Pamela Denham & Associates, for 25 years.

She said customers can tell almost as soon as they walk in the door of a business what kind of service they’ll be getting. The signs are all right there with a business’ customer-facing employees – their body language, their attentiveness, their eye contact, the expression on their faces.

“Research has found that you have about 90 seconds to make a lasting impression,” she said. “But the attention span for the average person is about 30 seconds, so really you have 30 seconds to make or break it.”

Communication is also important, particularly in situations where customers aren’t happy or are having to wait. Customers need to know they’re being heard. Denham recommended a simple method in responding to complaints or difficult customers – waiting three seconds after they’ve registered their complaint before responding.

“That shows respect to that person,” she said, “that you’re thinking about what they told you, and you’re coming up with some really good resolutions, things that may work, and they see that you’re putting time into that.”

Customer service is also vital in digital communications. Even with conversing via email or chat, remember to treat the person on the other end as a human. Use their name. Talk with them on a human level.

Tips such as these are part of a customer service training program that Denham and I have developed, called “Delivering Five-Star Customer Service.” If you feel your team would benefit from such a program, contact us at or 251.644.2148. Let’s give your customers the service they deserve and keep them coming back.

Categories: Blog, Podcast, Training Industry, What's Working with Cam Marston