Brilliant Customer Service requires more than a fake smile and ‘Have a nice day’.

It demands introspection, innovation and, more than ever, ease.

Think smooth.


Friction is the now the leading bugbear for customers.

You can be rude, drop the ball, mess up pricing and still be forgiven.

If your interaction is fraught with friction, expect your customers to start searching for a smoother alternative.


Friction comes in many forms:

Enter your password. No, not that one.

Print this. Don’t worry we’ll never actually look at it.

We need your details for security (only to have to repeat them… twice).

Please choose: 8am – 1pm or 1pm – 7pm for your convenient appointment.

You need to download the app first.

Please speak in your normal voice. What is your postcode? Please repeat your postcode.

I’ll be with you in a minute.

I’m not authorised to…


Each moment of friction slows a customer down.

Slows them down from making a buying or loyalty decision.


Can you afford that as a supplier?

Do you enjoy that as a customer?


What are your tips for removing friction and giving customers a smoother experience?

I’ll send a copy of my best-selling customer service book 5 Star Service to our favourite.

Please leave your comments below.

Be Brilliant!

PS Last week my newsletter (A Robot Wrote This) asked you to vote for your favourite version. Not saying which was mine and which was the Artificial Intelligence version, of 5 ways to be more confident in 2023.

You can see the results here.


  1. January 19th 2023 by Averil Price

    Put trust in staff and give them freedom to resolve complaints, nothing worse than being put on hold when they have to check with their supervisor for really minor issues. Give them accountability to make a decision and make the customer experience better.

  2. January 19th 2023 by Elly

    Listening and repeating back to customer what they have asked or addressed. Making that encounter about that person

  3. January 19th 2023 by Debbie Chilton

    Remember customers dont know or understand our internal processes, so explain patiently in language they can understand

  4. January 19th 2023 by David Palmer

    Stop using an electronic voice to say my call is important to me, when a 55 minute wait is going to follow.

  5. January 19th 2023 by Ashley Leeds

    I send a video when people sign up for my paid-for service. It welcomes them nd they can see that I care. It doesn’t take long, but it is personalised.

  6. January 19th 2023 by David Palmer


  7. January 19th 2023 by Roy Washington

    In any industry, things go wrong. Always. The customer is already annoyed at that, the BEST you can do is resolve the issue, take whatever measures possible to SORT IT OUT. That is what the customer will always remember, not what went wrong, not what well rehearsed apologies and platitudes you made, but what remedial action you took, that is the mark of excellent customer service.

  8. January 19th 2023 by Nicola Neilon

    Those companies who pick up the phone quickly and reply with a real person are the best, otherwise a video message or text chat box which responds in real time. Friction caused by long waits, annoying “call hold’ music and repeatedly saying “your call is important to us’ are my worst customer experiences.

  9. January 19th 2023 by Clare Fryer

    Put yourself in the customers shoes, speak clearly and then listen. Confirm you have understood their request/complaint . Clearly explain what happens next and if needed why it might take time. Don’t patronise, however hard it might be to reach understanding your job is to patiently help the customer to feel they are valued and important.

  10. January 19th 2023 by Rob Tearle

    Honesty is always the best as the Customer is invariably not stupid and any sense that they are not listening to the Customer and following their own process or agenda is seen through.

    For example when going to a car showroom and telling them up front you do not want car finance. The salesman knows they make more margin on the financing than on the car. The customer however has been very clear and leaves frustrated after finding a nice car and sitting through the same financing spiel again.

  11. January 19th 2023 by David Cleaver

    rTry and find common ground in looking for a solution to an issue/problem that might lead to friction. (Really enjoying the posts Michael 🙂 ).

  12. January 19th 2023 by Gaynor Cherieann

    Smile apologise if necessary do a bit of grovelling
    Then go outside scream 😱 don’t kick the dog 🐶

  13. January 19th 2023 by Rhona Morrison

    I am really sorry to hear that you have been upset by your experience of our service. I can’t change what has happened but I can listen, learn and try to make things better for the future. Our staff always have positive intent but sometimes that may not be your experience. Tell me your concerns and I will investigate and try to resolve the situation for you.

  14. January 19th 2023 by Alastair Arthur Tallis

    My tips would be to try being a customer first in that environment and reflect on what went well and what didn’t go so well. Throw ideas around on improving what didnt go so well n try them out. Find a solid plan to keep in place what went well and test out ideas

  15. January 19th 2023 by Julia Dockree-Miles

    Keep your promise, if you promise something then make sure you deliver it. If you can’t deliver, don’t promise that you can!!

  16. January 19th 2023 by Giles Stagg

    Having run bars and events for a long time my biggest tip for a smooth experience is to listen to your customers! Once you’ve listened properly working together becomes so easy and any problems or sticking points can usually be overcome, it makes for a much nicer working environment.

  17. January 19th 2023 by Carol Sisson

    Contacting the DWP and not being in a perpetual loop which states you call is valuable to us but we aren’t going to let you know how long that queue is, or which position you are in. 30 minutes plus later that would have been valuable information as you are sitting crossing your legs!

  18. January 20th 2023 by Gail Hitchens

    I’m sorry but we don’t have the demand for that item and we would have to order that item in OR arguing with the manager as he is cooking an item wrong because he doesn’t know a portion is six not one because he’s an imbecile.

  19. January 20th 2023 by Lesley Renault

    Have enough staff around so that people like me who are short can get things off the top shelf without having to be undignified when try to reach, or ask a fellow shopper to help.

  20. January 20th 2023 by Mrs Dawn Heather Booth

    Listen with your ears and your eyes and shut up whilst you are doing it.

  21. February 2nd 2023 by Rick Hurst

    Empathy, remember what its like to be a guest or customer.

    Listen to understand not to respond.

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