Customer Service In A Networked Village.

Customer service is like a marriage.

The objective is almost similar – to build a healthy, mutually-beneficial, and sustainable relationship.

However, if you do not manage the customer well, just like a broken marriage, there will be unnecessary and even painful conflict, distress, and losses.

As you work towards developing a positive relationship with your customer, remember that the world of customer service is undergoing a
sea change.

The world has become a networked village, a community where online and offline channels are changing and redesigning traditional border and boundary.

The resulting dynamics have made a permanent shift on how you relate to your customers and cultivate their respect, trust, affection and loyalty.

There are 3 mega-shifts that should warrant your attention and response.

1. Customer service begins before the first contact.

Before the first contact, your customers may check you out online and through other sources, especially from people who know you and have worked with you.

As they say, there is no second chance to make a good first impression.

Therefore, if your customers are not impressed, it will be harder to develop a healthy and sustainable relationship.

In a networked village, information is readily available, accessible and affordable.

Be cognizant that information about you, including even trade secrets can be exposed and discovered and if I may add, quite unpredictably.

The best way to have a positive personal reputation is to do good and live well.

It’s important to review your branding position on a regular basis, especially from the perspective of how it will affect customer service.

Your personal and corporate branding will influence how the customer will respond to you and form a relationship with you.

Most branding are accidentally developed. Instead of living up to a plan, it is developed through impression, assumption and perception in the marketplace.

Therefore, find out what is the real position of your brand. The real position is not your perception but the customer’s perception of your brand.

Perception is reality.

Monitor the “chatter” about you that is going on amongst your stakeholders.

“Chatter” includes truths, lies, half truths that are being transmitted during formal and informal communication and through online and offline channels. Even rumours can move the market and affect relationships.

Find out proactively what your stakeholders, including your shareholders, partners, colleagues, customers and prospects are conversing about you.

If the public image is respectable, you can leverage from a position of strength to manage customer relationship and the business.

By the same token, if the image is less than desired, you will have an uphill task to win customers’ heart and mind.

2. Serve the total needs, not just the professional needs.

In a networked village, you cannot show interest in one area of the customers’ life.

You need to increasingly relate to the total person and serve not just his professional but also the total needs.

It may include a part or all of the following needs:

2.1 Personal needs – customer’s needs as a unique human,

2.1 Functional needs – needs that has to do with his job and career,

2.3 Group needs – needs of the formal and informal groups that may have an influence on his work and decision-making process, and

2.4 Organisational needs – needs of the organisation that he belongs to.

The above needs influence one another and any of which need can cause detrimental effects on customer satisfaction.

Meet customer’s immediate and future needs. At the same time,
anticipate their changing needs and exceed their expectations and competitors’ deliverables.

3. Provide ahead-of-the-curve and
on-demand services.

Customers in a networked village may not know what they want. They can also be wrong about their real needs.

In a fast-changing landscape, they may not be able to keep track of advancements and progress. There may be better solutions and services that they are not aware of.

Entrepreneurial leaders such as the late Steve Job, Mark Zuckerburg, Warren Buffet and many others offer services that may seem to be ahead of time.

They can’t control time but they can manage timing by managing and transforming customer needs. They turn the right time to “here and now.”

For example, Steve Job have sold products that have never existed and which the customers don’t even know they need.

Think, what are tomorrow’s service challenges we need to resolve today?

What are tomorrow’s service opportunities that we can capitalise upon today?

As infocommunication network become more pervasive and ubiquitous, customer’s expectation of response time will increase.

The best way to respond to it is to be proactive in engaging customers on social media.

It is to be able to stay ahead of the curve in helping them to meet even future needs.

Customer service is not just a function in an enterprise. It’s a journey that you need to take with the customers to build a healthy, mutually-beneficial, and sustainable relationship.


By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Please visit my website,

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


About Patrick Liew
About Patrick Liew Patrick Liew MBA, MSc, BSc is the Managing Partner of Global Enterprise Exchange Pte. Ltd.. He is also the founder and director of Success Resources, arguably the world’s largest personal development seminar organiser and a major shareholder of a company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was previously the Executive Chairman and CEO of HSR Global Ltd., a publicly listed company on SGX-ST. Previously, he was the regional director of the Gartner Group, providing strategic advisory and planning services to governments, banks and MNCs. He was also the regional head of sales and marketing operation for Dow Jones Telerate. Patrick graduated with a BSc in Estate Management from Heriot Watt University, an MSc with emphasis in global business and marketing from The City University Of New York, and an MBA from Henley Business School / Brunel University. He has also earned more than nine other professional qualifications. Patrick is arguably the first person to develop a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. He authored a Chinese book on business systems and was also the co-author of a Times Bookshop best-selling book. Patrick has conducted both ‘brick and mortar’ and online lessons for participants from more than 60 countries. He has also conducted keynote presentations in many international conferences, including being the first Singaporean to teach at the National Association of Realtors. Through his team at Success Resources, Patrick has organised educational conferences for prominent leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and many other prominent leaders. Patrick provides leadership and advisory services to many professional and charity organisations. He is actively involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic and charity causes. He has organised three fund-raising events and in the process, help to set three national records in the Singapore Books Of Records. Patrick won the Entrepreneur Of the Year Award For Social Contribution, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award, and six other business awards. Patrick believes the best way to live your life is to live your life for others. The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Personal Note to my Friends The articles that I post online; or what I term as Love Notes, are written with the purpose of inspiring readers to live at a higher plane in life. They are also meant to motivate those who are struggling in life and help them find handlers to overcome their conflicts and challenges. It is my ardent hope that we will form networks and alliances of like-minded people who will put to right many of the wrongs in our midst. Together, we will leverage on each other's resources and create a synergistic impact in making our world a better home. These articles are written as part of regular reflection about the vicissitudes of life. They are at best work in progress and at worst, grumblings, grouses, and gripings of a finite old man. I have deliberately decided NOT to delete many of the articles and pointers that I may not agree with or are outrightly wrong. This is to keep a record of how my personal ideas, beliefs, and values have evolved over time. In addition, I hope to encourage readers by letting them know that I also make mistakes and am struggling with many of the complexity and complication in life. As long as we hang on to hope and work on finding a solution, there will be light at the end of whatever tunnel we are in. I do not pretend to know everything or for that matter, anything of substance. In fact, the more I study, learn, and think about the vast wisdom and knowledge out there, the more I realised how little I know about life and the ways of life. Hence, I have always ended my article by asking readers to continue to teach me. For I, too, am a sojourner in the exploration of truth and the adventure of finding meaning, purpose, and significance for my existence. I am proud of and make no apology for being a Christian, albeit not the most exemplary one. I believe our Creator can lead and guide us to be the best that we can ever be. I bear full responsibility for the shortcoming and error in my life, including my words. The fault is entirely mine and not due to anyone else. Readers have and can exercise the power of choice. They can discard what will not work for them and adopt those that can propel them further and faster in the pursuit of better performance, outcomes, and fulfillment. If I have disappointed or hurt you in any way, form, or manner, I would like to apologise to you. Please do not hold them against me or whoever or whatever is related to me. There are much to pray about, learn, and do. And I'll work on them with a sense of urgency. I hold on to the belief that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence'. I'll endeavour to live by it. Life is short. There's no dress rehearsal and neither can we turn back the clock to change the drama of life. Therefore, by the grace and power of our Creator, let's live a full life and live it to the fullest. May God bless you abundantly on the journey of life. Your online servant, Patrick Liew I hope this message will find a place in your heart. By the way, I have also recorded other reflections. Please 'Like' me on Visit my Inspiration blog at For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at Please visit my website, Please read my reflection and continue to teach me. Life is FUNtastic!

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