I needed to change an online booking but the only way to do it was to call the contact centre.

I visited the store but was asked to email my comments to the service department.

I called the help line and was instructed to put my request in writing.

I responded to the tweet and was asked to print, fill in and post a PDF; a PDF which was hidden so deeply on the company’s website any normal human could never have found it.

If you really want to upset your customers, tell them that their preferred method of communication isn’t yours!

In an increasingly multi-channel world, I believe the primary method of communication should be (whenever possible) the method your customer wants to use.

The fact that they can be bothered to communicate with you at all (in this busy,  distraction-driven world) should fill you with joy.

Remember, people like people who are like…. themselves.


Letter writers like letters.

Texters like texts

Callers like calls

Tweeters like tweets

Facebookers like posts.


Get it?

I’d love your comments – in any format you like!

Be Brilliant!



PS Did you know we have a powerful, fun and informative keynote specifically on customer service? My ‘5 Star Service – One Star Budget’ presentation has been delivered to audiences from Housing to Hotels, Construction to Car Parks.

To find out more contact us by phone, email, even fax! Here’s our contact page. https://www.michaelheppell.com/contact/


  1. November 15th 2018 by David Lovegrove

    Fantastic, just what we in the office were talking about this morning, systems are great but you need to bend sometimes to accommodate the customer and speak in the language that they work in and deal with them in their method that they are comfortable with.

    Many thanks

    1. November 15th 2018 by Michael Heppell

      Thank you for responding David. Would love to know how you get on.

  2. November 15th 2018 by Nichola Clydesdale

    Any tips on how to identify which are which Michael?

    1. November 15th 2018 by Michael Heppell

      Hi Nichola. Not sure I understand your question? If it’s how do you know the method it’s just about having a heads up approach and looking for how people communicate with you.

  3. November 15th 2018 by Neil Finlay

    If I email a service provider or supplier, a ‘personal’ reply (even if it just a few lines) fills me with joy. An automated message doesn’t make me feel that my contact is valued. It just makes me think that this organisation doesn’t feel my business warrants their full attention. As a customer, I want to know their is a real person ‘behind’ all that technology. I am no technophobe, but I am afraid that technology is being used to excuse bad service. I think about these things when I am choosing where to spend my money and that of the business I work in.

    1. November 15th 2018 by Michael Heppell

      I love that you use words like ‘fills me with joy’. The simplest thing can have that impact on a customer. M

  4. November 15th 2018 by Marc Proste

    Well you say ‘any format you like’ but you still haven’t responded to the message I sent by carrier pigeon last week.

    I’ll get my coat

    1. November 15th 2018 by Michael Heppell

      I loved that pigeon.

  5. November 15th 2018 by David Madley

    In a people centered business why wouldn’t you focus on what the customer wants, unless you don’t need customers of course!

    1. November 15th 2018 by Michael Heppell

      The arrogance of some organisations astounds me David.

  6. November 15th 2018 by Wendy

    Wow, Michael…a hot topic for me at the moment! Have been very grizzly the last week or two due to this exact problem. E-mail is my least preferred, mainly because I dislike doing them on my small phone screen, and I am not ‘connected’ 24/7 with my laptop. It is so easy to reach for the phone, either landline or moby; in these situations, I find things are usually sorted quite quickly. With e-mail I often have to wait anything up to 2 days for a reply, and getting a reply does not necessarily give me an answer to my query (and don’t even get me started on companies based abroad and the time differences involved)! I get excited seeing a swift reply, only to find it’s an acknowledgement of receipt …so I still have to wait…grrr! It turns a very simple query/request into a big hairy task! Added to this is the fact that e-mails take me ages to compose and to type, as it is difficult to anticipate how they will be perceived and received. I can gauge all this perfectly with a phone call! My laptop is on and working mostly during ‘office hours’ and a couple of evenings, but not all day every day, for my admin and work stuff. I do miss the phone as a contact medium. I guess I’m a ‘phone pro’!

    1. November 15th 2018 by Michael Heppell

      Very hot topic Wendy. But will it get better? I’m unsure.

  7. November 15th 2018 by Hugh Gilmartin

    Hey my old matie Michael … so true and in sales that strategy is a great one … find people like yourself – you will get on far better with them and they are far more likely to buy because as your other pal Jeff Gitto says ‘All things being equal people buy from people they like, All things not being equal people still buy from people they like!’ Thanks for your ongoing value posts. Brilliant!

  8. November 16th 2018 by Heidi Strickland-Clark

    I’ve had to learn this too. I used to get exasperated that I couldn’t keep up with Wassap, Text, FB, emails, voicemails, but actually, these people want to talk to me or do business with me, so that’s got to be a brilliant thing! Thank you for the reminder.

  9. November 16th 2018 by george seward

    hi Michael your beyond brilliant seminar in Nottingham was great in July, any chance my surfboard is on its way for christmas? do you remember i missed it, you called and promised me one! G x

  10. November 17th 2018 by Liz McG

    Dearest Michael
    My lovely mum and I have had a great chat about this. Nothing beats a personal letter it’s irreplacable and says you care. We agree texters might like texts etc but we think everyone loves a personal letter.
    Have you listened to Tom Hanks talk about the typewriter, inspirational. I think I might get one!
    We’re following up this post with a letter because we care about you, AND you should know I’ve kept all the handwritten letters you and your beautiful wife have ever sent. ( but not the texts!)
    Thank you for a great conversation piece. Rarely reply but always listening X

    1. November 20th 2018 by Michael Heppell

      Oh wow. That’s lovely. Lots of truths there Mrs M x

  11. November 20th 2018 by Geraldine Donovan

    Remembering to put yourself in their shoes. It so easy to forget the simplest things when time is tight but thinking of these differences can make all the difference in your visitors coming back and recommending. Looking forward to seeing you at the NT conference in Aberystwyth tomorrow

    1. November 20th 2018 by Michael Heppell

      We’re really looking forward to seeing you all too. Just going over the presentation now.

  12. August 7th 2019 by Michael Heppell

    Comments are closed for this newsletter. Thank you.

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