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Main Street Collective Call: Customer Service as a Business Differentiator with Salena Scardina


In this week’s Collective Conversation, we chat with expert speaker, Salena Scardina, a primary consultant and founder of HeroCx. Salena has led customer service for national brands including McDonald’s, Hanes Brand, and Vera Bradley, driving customer experience with a hero-focused approach. For 25 years as a business owner, customer service leader, professor, and Tedx Speaker, Salena revolves action around the customer to transform businesses into industry leaders.

“When I step out of my role and think about the customer as the hero, at the center of everything we do, it changes my perspective”

To kick off the call Salena notes the importance of staying up to date with the everchanging state of the customer. Trends, such as Pervasive eCommerce are capitalized on by both Salena and Kate in their findings of today’s customer demands. Pervasive eCommerce is the desire of customers to be able to connect anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Here are more shopper trends that Salena mentions.

Today’s Customers…

  • Expect pervasive e-commerce (ATAWAD)

  • Are more likely to shop brands with aligning values or that display activism

  • Are more knowledgeable through access to online information

  • Are more anxious, post-pandemic

“The customer journey is incredibly important and if it doesn’t work and there is an issue, you have to activate with empathy”

When service doesn’t go as planned Salena uses strategic communication to repair the customer relationship. Understanding, validating, and caring for the customer are practices to demonstrate empathy and the desire to meet shopper needs. This is especially important when maintaining the connection that sets small, local businesses apart. Salena practices these three activators of empathy when repairing the customer relationship.

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There’s no question that solving customer complaints can be tough and that we are not always met with cooperation from customers. Salena explains that when a customer seems to leave logic behind, we can turn to the facts of the situation instead of the emotions. When we become stressed, our brain utilizes the limbic brain system which is unfocused, emotionally charged, and only understanding of the moment. By viewing these unhelpful behaviors as a human instinct instead of a personal attack, we can better pick out the customer’s message instead of the delivery. Here are some helpful methods used by Salena to navigate challenging customer interactions.

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Salena says an apology sends the message that “there is some pain that you’re going through, and I acknowledge that. I may not be the cause if it, but I acknowledge it”. Here are some tips Salena suggests for sincere and effective apologizing.

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Salena’s places the customer at the center of service efforts to set the brand experience apart. Driving revenue and creating loyal customers is the result of acting on the customer state and meeting the needs of our local shoppers. Join the collective conversation HERE for more on how to differentiate your small business through customer service. 

Visit the HeroCx website HERE to learn more about customer service consulting and training. Watch Salena’s Tedx Talk: A Defining Time for Human Connection in Customer Service

Follow Salena on Twitter  


Connect with Salena: HeroCX


Visit our Youtube to watch this Collective Conversation and other sessions HERE.


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