About Brainfood Extra

Human Chemistry Of Customer Service

I feel very strongly that most customer service operations fail miserably to join the dots and provide the level of support that front line staff require to operate at their peak levels of performance.

If Social Networking has taught us anything it’s that the human touch matters.

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2,000 Years Of Insights About Listening

The challenge of being great at listening is as old as the human race. I’ve compiled these insights as evidence. They are wise, funny, sad, and sometimes pretty deep. Worth a view to show an age old struggle

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Customer Listening

How does listening impact customer engagement? Its harder to do that you might imagine. Having a listening platform in place is not Customer Listening in my book. This is session three in the series.

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Is ROI Provable For Customer Service?

It’s a long debate as to what the real connections are between the impact that great customer service has on customers and any subseqeuent commercial benefit.

This is my take on the key issues involved.

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I’m Martin Hill-Wilson. Brainfood Extra is my online home.

It’s a place where I hope to provide quality commentary on all things to do with the customer.

My interest and passion on this theme is long standing. For me, watching the relationship between customers and brands has become as good a way of litmus testing the state of the world as any. It’s a prism through which much can be glimpsed.

For instance, take the current topic of customer experience. I certainly expect high standards for myself as a consumer.  21st century life is so demanding that dumb behaviour impacts in a deeply irritating way. So I’m drawn to seek out things/brands that are working.

I’ve learnt that this is never an accident. It’s the product of passion, hard work and learning. True of any field in life. None more so than in the business of doing business. Being part of something that works feels good for the soul. Being on the receiving end is equally good. To me that’s case closed. Both sides win.

Ho hum. But guess where assumptions get you. This is plainly not the case ‘out there’. Why do so many organisations fall short given the multiple upsides that are passionately asociated with excellent customer experience? A question I’ve been asking since the mid 1980’s! Must be the sheer perversity of missing the point that still facinates me.

But that said things are changing. For the better. Slowly. Would be great to see it happen deliberately via conscious strategy though instead of the usual process of organic generational change in leadership. We shall see how many of today’s brands are with us in fifty years.  Previous studies show the run rate is not that great.

Could Be Win Win

This is how I see it.

Since most of us are involved,  both working for and interacting with brands,  it’s pretty much central to the quality of our daily life. As I said, during the time I’ve been watching this and adding my shoulder to the wheel, many a brand has professed interest, but in reality just kicked the can further down the road for the next generation of leadership to pick up.

Was 2012 different? Certainly much more finger pointing. And some who are being pointed at have clearly noticed. In fact there is a sniff of Vive La Social Revolution in the air! Respond to our demands or face being today’s agenda in front of half a billion piranhas ready to strip you of all reputation.

This potential firepower is impressive, but reports from the front line remain mixed. Some days the war is won, others it’s the same old behaviour that fills the headlines. It seems the leadership generation that never ‘got it’ will take their time shuffling out the door. Nonetheless people power transmitted via social networks is going to be very important in facing up to many of the future battles we face keeping the world on a human track.

So this is what makes the topic of customer engagement (as now described) so interesting. In fact much digital ink is now spilled trying to be first in reporting from this particular front line. But Brainfood Extra values a different SLA (service level agreement for those unfamilar with call centre lingo).  For me it’s less about quantity, more about quality, context and implication. More signal, less noise. You get the idea.

You of course will judge if that SLA is being acheived. But that is the intent and reason for bringing Brainfood Extra to life. I hope you enjoy what’s on offer.

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