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Disruptive Customer Service

How the next level of customer service can elevate your business and increase sales

My assistant recently told my wife that she was considering buying a coin-counting machine. My wife asked her if she had thought of taking her coins to a local bank to use their free coin counter. My assistant replied that she doesn’t have an account at that bank. My wife told her that it doesn’t matter–that it’s a free service for any and everyone.

But what’s in it for the bank? They get a steady stream of folks walking into their bank every day. People who might just need a checking or savings account. People who might need a car or personal loan. People who might own businesses which need capital.

Kohl’s department store just began doing something similar. Now, when you have an item to return to Amazon, you can just walk that item into Kohl’s and they will return it to Amazon for you. And get this, you don’t have to worry about packing the item in a box or paying for the shipping!

In case you feel like you misread that, I’ll say it again. Buy something from and return it to Kohl’s (which, by the way, is not owed by Amazon) and they will return it to Amazon at no charge whatsoever to you.

Again, what could Kohl’s possibly have to gain from such a deal? In an age where brick and mortar stores are under constant threat from online retailers, Kohl’s has found a creative way to bring potential customers into their stores. Mind you, the people returning the merchandise have already proven their ability and willingness to buy stuff!

In both of these examples, these companies haven’t won the customer yet, but they have earned the right to audition for that customer. They have bought their way into potential customers’ lives by offering something of value.

There are three things that I love about this. I love…

1] The customer service. These two companies have adopted the belief that fantastic service will lead to increased sales. It’s a bold move. It’s a constant tug of war in the corporate world. How do we increase our profit margin? Do we raise prices? Do we reduce service? Or do we provide more service that will draw customers? Savvy businesses make sure they find a way to make their customers happy, and more important, get them talking to their friends about that business.

2] The audacity. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when these suggestions were first mentioned in the board room. “I have an idea about how we can combat the 800-pound gorilla named Amazon! Why don’t we join forces with them?”


“Hey, how about we take a service that other people charge for and give it to the public for free!“

Was there laughter in the room? Were there smirks around the table? I wouldn’t be surprised. It takes courage to go against the flow and make suggestions that don’t occur to anyone else.

3] The attitude. In the face of a difficult challenge, when most of their competitors are sitting around wringing their hands and hoping things will get better, these two companies thought about the possibilities rather than the limitations. Rather than circling the wagons and hoisting the white flag, these entities decided to fight back. They decided their destiny shouldn’t be decided by the choices of other businesses.

So what is the creative idea that will make you relevant in your prospective customers’ eyes? What is the one revolutionary industry disrupter that will bring people to your website or in your doors?

There is one thing I can promise you. There is someone in your field that is working on coming up with an answer to that question. There is no reason that person can’t be you.

© 2019 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site  or contact him via e-mail at

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