Communicating in the New Millennium


Strauss and Howe’s categorization of the Millennial puts the birth range from 1982-2004.

As the world spins faster and faster into the digital age, companies need to know that they are communicating with two distinctly different consumers and workers. Baby Boomers and Millennials find themselves trapped in lockdown of miscommunication. They may speak the same language, but a translator is needed to bridge the gap of understanding. Particularly in marketing to these consumers and in hiring boomers and millennials, businesses must approach each group with the care and uniqueness that sets them apart.

I’ve made it easier for you to find the distinctions that drive each generation and then how to communicate, motivate, and cooperate with these two groups of people.

baby boomers-6Baby Boomers

Born approximately between the years 1946-1964, these 52-70 year olds came into the world during a time of conflict. World WarII was barely in the rear view mirror, and many of their parents, those of our Greatest Generation, fought in that war so it was never far from conversation. The Vietnam War — a highly contested and volatile war —trailed closely behind, while the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. dominated the news. These boomers experienced social changes in women’s rights, birth control, and abortion. During their formative years, the Berlin Wall was built and the Cuban missile crisis kept them practicing drills at school.

They were also born during a time of expansion. The world saw the 1st man on the moon,
Televisions became more widespread and available to the masses, and
suburbs were created. Boomers lived during the time where the adage of work hard and reap the benefits was never more true. The economy was booming and people were living well after the war, up until the early 70’s. This set of kids saw their parents going to college and working in ‘traditional roles’ in traditional fields, for them it was unlikely their parents were entrepreneurs.

This is a generation that:

Is patient and not at all entitled – They saw their parents work for all they got, and they had those same expectations instilled in them. They were raised by the Greatest Generation who lived as though at any moment the bottom may fall out again. They were conscientious spenders and hard workers.

Had a voice – This is the generation of marchers/protesters and flower children. They saw great conflicts in their life times, and the pump was primed for them to jump in and lend a voice and a hand.

Are collaborative workers – They learned when you join forces through their marches and protests that there is more strength in numbers and that followed them into the workforce. They were happy to work as a team and leave their own interests at the door for the greater good.

Put themselves last – this generation was far from coddled as their parents were busy re-establishing their families, getting educations and making a new life for themselves. These kids were independent and were expected to step up and help the family as a whole. These kids are also the ‘sandwich generation’ – carrying for both their kids as well as their parents, this, in and of itself, left little place for ‘me’ time.

Experienced death differently and less ‘intimately’ than generations past:  Aging in America became a business during this time. While the process started in the mid-50’s to establish elderly homes it was really in the 60’s – 70’s that this business model burgeoned and started to take in great numbers of our older population. Baby Boomers watched their parents…their heros…die in homes and institutions unlike any generation prior. For example when Boomers were children they likely saw their parents tend to their grand-parents through the end-of-life in their own homes. It was not unusual to see Grandpa take up residence in what used to be the family living room. Therefore this new ‘outsourcing’ of end-of life put both an emotional stressor on their shoulders, as they felt as though they were abandoning their parents, and a fiscal stressor on their pocketbooks. Now, with life extended they had to cover costs for nursing homes and/or they had to build in travel expenses to visit their continually aging parents possibly across many states. This was far from an intimate was to die, this was death in the age of commercialism and capitalism.

Are fiscally aware but not necessarily prepared – this generation saw great growth in the economy and for some time tremendous strength in a growing middle class but if they didn’t, or weren’t able to, prepare accordingly for a rainy day, this generation also saw the dramatic shrinking of that very middle class with the passing years. Boomers also experienced a significant shift in power and the reality of our dependence on other countries for things so important to our everyday lives as oil. This generation remembers quite vividly the gas shortages and the lines at the pumps with their babies in tow, during the 70’s. They also had the aforementioned hardships of carrying for multiple generations which often depleted their savings and the likelihood that they would over commit to savings such as 401Ks, according to The Fiscal Times (October 2015), ‘the average retirement portfolio… has just $136,200 in it.’ This severe shortfall has led this strong and capable generation to rely heavily on the promise of social security.

How they need to be reached and communicated to:

  • They still read newspapers and rely on the TV for their news.
  • They prefer face-to-face interactions over being buffered by forms of technology
  • They are happy to make due and while they have proven themselves to have a voice; they also believe in the greater good and tend to not want to make waves.
    • This tends to keep this generation a bit quieter than the millennial and more likely to ‘do as they’re told’.
  • They tend to have have more scattered families therefore are more likely to feel the need to maintain their independence and not have to rely on others for their well-being.
  • They tend to choose quality over quantity of life as they saw the harm done to their own psyche as well as the well-being of their parents due to the options and institutionalization of the end of life (noted above).
  • They are not quite as adept at researching their options and tend to lean on others who are ‘at the helm’ be it in commerce or healthcare. They want to be involved in decisions which keep them healthy and capable but are overwhelmed by the vast amount of information available to them.
  • Offer a support team to help in major healthcare decisions and the ability to decide how they’d like to proceed.


Born approximately between the years of 1982-2004, Millenials are between the ages of 12-34 years. There is a great discrepancy on the range for this generation but for the sake of defining the borders of the generation we’ll ascribe to the categorization as set by Strauss and Howe. They were born during a time of connectivity. The internet was growing…exponentially. The Berlin Wall came down, unifying Germany and offering hope to the world.

While born into a time of unification it was also one of great uncertainty and lack of control of ‘others.’ There were bombings (Olympic Park, Unibomber, 911), and the OJ Simpson’s highly televised ‘chase’ and trial brought a new level of ‘reality TV’ into our homes. Drama was everywhere and now instantly accessible 24 hours a day. AIDS was an epidemic, and school shootings began, starting with the Columbine High Shooting, and continued.

This generation of Americans are technologically versed and fragmented. This was truly the MTV Generation; they never knew a world without music on TV.
The internet was accessible – AOL (1985) and email became a part of their world. Many were never aware of a ‘before the internet’ timeframe. News came predominately from TV and the Web, with Newspapers taking a back seat.

This is a generation that is:
Connected – Millenials are always connected to others and by various devices. “Smart” devices (phones, watches, cars, appliances, etc.) are responsive—or work across platforms or other devices at once— and support the use of multiple use as they thirst for a connection to the world.

Multi-taskers – Due to the multitude of devices at their disposal along with managing their ‘off-line’ existence, they’ve become amazingly adept multi-taskers.

Involved and wanting to give feedback – This generation relies heavily on others who came before and also, a type of a trickle down effect, are more willing to give feedback to those who may follow. They feel their voice has value, and they want to share opinions. This generation was likely raised in a household where things often revolved around them unlike the generations prior which were not nearly as child-centric. The generation proceeding them, Generation X,  was full of ‘latch-key’ kids so the parents for this generation tended to over compensated for this one. I believe the benefit of this is a stronger more confident voice for this generation which is in direct dispute with the other option and misnomer, the ‘Me Generation’.

Community oriented and ones who wish to effect change – As per the reasons above, they have a level of self-confidence not seen in past generations and with that a belief that they truly can change things. Consequently, there is a willingness to try to find opportunities to succeed often in niche ways (entrepreneurial) not seen possibly since our Greatest Generation (Those who grew up during the depression, fought in WWII and went on to build what is ‘modern-day’ America).

Comfortable with self-expression – Again their level of self-confidence leads to their ability and willingness to express themselves how they see fit —whether it be body adornments such as tattoos or piercings or freer expressions of themselves sexually. This freedom extends to other behaviors and groups as well and affords them a higher level of acceptance for people of other faiths, ethnicities and race.  For them, all is permissible within the realm of being true to themselves.

How they need to be reached/communicated with:

  • Meet them on their terms, where and when they want and bring them into the discussion and decisions – Don’t talk to, or sell them.
  • Utilize many avenues of communication from internet/social media, tv and lastly print.
  • Prove how working with, buying from or partnering with you affords them the opportunity to effect change and make a better world.
  • It’s not aways about the bottom line financially for them as much as it is about where the rubber meets the road and what it means for the greater good.
  • Lead them through their options and allow them to mix and match things as they see best suits their needs be it on a purchase or their own well-being/healthcare.
  •  Incentivize them to give positive feedback so others, like them, will follow suit.


If you still aren’t sure how to cross the generational divide, the magazine Gold Digest offers some more specific advice on how to play golf with a boomer versus a millennial.


Guest Blog: How Do You Start a Bank?

CapStarLogo_PMS303_PMS4515 2014

By Beth Alexander, Private Banker and Communications Director of CapStar Bank

With an ongoing 30-year career in banking, Claire Tucker had a terrific job as state president of a growing bank, doing what she loved and knew well. Then one day in 2007, she got a call from an old friend, a former bank president she had worked with nearly a decade earlier at First American Bank. He had an unusual proposition: Let’s start a bank.

That would mean giving up her secure current job in the upper echelon of her institution and starting to work on…a dream.

The idea for a new bank was confirmed by market research conducted to determine whether middle Tennessee really needed another bank. The research found that while very large institutions were well-served by large banks and mom-and-pops were getting the attention they needed from small community banks, there was a lack of service to the businesses in the middle—mid-size businesses and family businesses that were growing or going through transitions that required both expertise and patient listening on the part of a financial banking partner. This resonated with Claire: She believed it and believed she could sell it.

Working with her old banking friend, the future chairman of the board, they raised more than $88 million in the fall of 2007 from nearly 300 mostly local investors, people who, they hoped, would open accounts and generate buzz about the new bank, CapStar. At that time, the Dow hit an all-time high of 14,164, and prime rate stood at 7.75%.

They worked with the bank’s new board to develop an ambitious but realistic five-year plan and began hiring experts, many of whom came from the core of successful people behind First American, to build the bank—crafting its lending policies, purchasing the latest bank software, building a culture of hard work and a strong team. One of their outside-the-box decisions: hiring me, a magazine editor, to join their sales force of highly experience bankers. Scary? Yes. And exciting. During those early sales meetings before the bank opened, I had a hard time visualizing exactly how it all would come together. But our leadership team was brilliant, far-sighted and working every hour to be prepared for the day when the Fed would issue the letter that allowed us to open.

CapStar opened on July 14, 2008, between the meltdown of Bear Stearns and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, followed the next day by the AIG bailout. By then, prime rate had dipped to 5.0% and only five months later, it sank to 3.25% where it has stayed ever since. On December 16, for the first time in history, the Fed lowered its benchmark interest rate to zero. Did I say it was scary before? What kind of chutzpa did it take to open a bank in this environment? While it seemed as if we were walking a tightrope, our timing was serendipitous. All around us, other banks experienced the softening of their loan portfolios, while we had a clean balance sheet and the capacity to lend. Because of this, CapStar was also an attractive option to those who wanted to take their gains out of the market.

Now I understand what happens when a bank is born. Claire never lost her cool or her sense of humor; she never let us lose sight of the mission to meet the needs of those underserved mid-size businesses, their executives and their workforces. CapStar adopted the tagline, We’re Listening, to reflect our single minded intent to deliver on exactly what the customer needs to fulfill a financial goal—not simply to offer a product but to find a tailored solution.

Within three years, we were operating at a profit, and today CapStar is one of only two billion-dollar banks in the country out of the more than 70 that opened in 2008. In the past seven years, we’ve purchased and integrated a terrific bank in Sumner County along with a mortgage division and added financial planning to our menu of services.

Because of Claire’s leadership and that of the other leaders around her, I’m surrounded by colleagues at every level who are not bound by a 40-hour work week. We’re available to our customers at night and on weekends, and I consider my customers and my coworkers friends. They’re also my inspiration to get a little more done each day, wherever it’s needed. We all perform whatever task is necessary to get the job done for the customer and, as a team, for each other.

It is an inspiration to work with our President and Chief Executive Officer Claire Tucker every day—a woman who is always 100 percent engaged, personally attentive and wise in many ways, not just banking, although that is no small thing. Claire says she’s a late-blooming entrepreneur, but though she may have come late to the start-up party, her years of experience, the respect she wields in the community and her personal integrity give each of us a standard to aspire to every day. I can’t imagine a more effective model for leadership.

And if any of us ever need anything from our CEO, she’s listening.


Not Just Another Vendor


In today’s world, market research is more than just a one-stop shop. It’s not enough to collate information through a couple of quantifiable data points, and then send a client out into the chaotic world of consumerism.

For me, building relationships with my clients – not just acting as another vendor – is the most fulfilling part of my work as a market researcher. Before taking on any new project, I like to gather as much information as possible, understanding the perspectives and objectives of my clients in order to make their projects more actionable. Working with businesses to gather and analyze market research is more than just another service. It is a necessary partnership.

All too often, outside vendors receive a negative reputation as ad hoc suppliers, serving a particular purpose that does not require further interpretation. Not only does this invalidate the larger purpose of market research, it detracts from true fulfillment that comes through a career built on building relationships. I love to stay in touch with my clients, hearing of their successes, and helping them overcome any roadblocks they have encountered.

The challenge as a market research vendor is remaining a partner to clients while maintaining autonomy and an objective opinion that gives credence to your value as a vendor. To offer biased and parroted rhetoric on an issue pertaining to a client’s needs and desires would completely discount the role of hiring an outside perspective. It’s a balancing act, but knowing the industry, understanding the client’s culture, and being ready at a moment’s notice is what makes my work exciting.

As someone who thrives on building relationships with my clients and overseeing the duration of their projects – from the brainstorming beginnings to the palpable successes and the challenges in between, it is imperative to me to truly get to know each client on a deeper level. I focus on digging into my clients’ objectives, in order to turn a vague idea into a successful and actionable plan. There is nothing more gratifying than watching my clients succeed because they chose to work with someone who is in it for the long haul – not just another vendor.

Aon: Does the Customer Know Best?

Survey form with a tick placed in Outstanding checkbox

By John Byers, Vice President, Aon Risk Solutions

Insurance is not the new black. It’s not trendy, sexy or attractive. Insurance is viewed by some as a commodity. So, why does it matter if you buy it from one person or another – even one company or another? How do you differentiate a product that no one necessarily likes to talk about but certainly doesn’t want to be without when they need it? For Aon, it starts with understanding the difference between agents and consultants as we recognize that our clients come to us for the added value, not just the insurance programs, we deliver.

We know the old saying about the customer, and we know they always want to be right. But, we have all experienced walking away unsure of a product or service, asking ourselves that nagging question, “Did I make the right decision?” With more competition and more complex information than ever before, is it more important to be right or to be sure? Today, customers want to be sure that they made the right decision. In our world, the world of risk management and consulting, that’s what matters most to the people we serve.


Each one of our relationships begins by talking about our client’s tolerance for risk. One Aon client recently pulled me aside and said, “Aon is a company that doesn’t talk like other companies. They spoke to me about risk first and educated me about the gaps that I had.  They provided scenarios that made me think differently about my business and then gave me options to help protect myself and my company, outlining the cost and benefit to the business every step of the way.”

Aon clients have a single point of contact to facilitate, coordinate and deploy all resources promptly and efficiently. We provide direct access to our myriad on staff resources designed to fit the needs of the client’s risk tolerance. While everyone else may have “a guy they know,” Aon has resources on staff with a global network of skilled professionals at their fingertips, nonetheless. Our model is so uniquely different than what our customers are familiar with. After a discussion, our clients leave the conversation educated and therefore confident that they made an informed decision to empower results for their company’s bottom line.


Any conversation around customer service can be summed up with a simple idea – empathy. Our approach to clients is grounded in empathy.  Without question, part of managing risk includes managing conflict.  Managing conflicts involves being empathetic to the challenges an organization might face.

This perspective begins with the internal Aon culture. Aon welcomes and offers support and kindness to its colleagues for the betterment of its clients. Show me a company that functions with an internal culture of kindness, generosity, respect and empathy, and I’ll show you one of their customers who shares the same values.


What keeps Aon’s clients coming back again and again is the fact that we have built trust. Some trust may come from a distinct brand, positive Wall Street reports or a referral from a friend, but I know I have created trust when I hear a client say, “My former agent never did this for me.” Trust is manufactured and maintained within the customer’s personal experience built by complete transparency, education, understanding, helping the customer realize the questions they need to ask and delivering quickly. Aon’s motto is to be in the weeds, go beyond the front lines and be willing to get your hands dirty. It’s in these moments that we get to create the ultimate trust with our customers.

Insurance broking is experiencing a revolution, and it’s called risk consulting.  Risk Consulting is delivering sound solutions within an extremely complex and ever-changing environment. This is done in such a way that clients can choose to understand as much or as little as they desire, have a deep appreciation for as little or as much risk as they want as well as develop a complete and unique trust that they are being coached to making an informed decision. At Aon, our clients worry about many things when growing a business, but risk and insurance isn’t one of them.

Keep it Personal

It’s bound to happen sooner or later. Your customers are going to have a negative or frustrating experience with your product or services. It’s simply an unavoidable fact. The question isn’t if it will happen, but how are you going to deal with it when it happens? And, what strategies are you going to put in place to ensure you don’t lose those customers for life?

I recently had a very frustrating customer experience of my own with a certain well-known airline. Aggravated by my situation, I reached out to the airline to vocalize my dissatisfaction, and was surprised when they immediately responded by throwing a couple of flight vouchers my way. While a few free plane tickets in an ever-inflating economy did sound nice, it didn’t get to the root of my problem. I didn’t feel heard, I didn’t feel appreciated, and no action was taken to prevent the issue from reoccurring in the future.

In the words of Steve Jobs, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Do you view these situations as an opportunity to learn and improve? Or like many companies, are you guilty of handing out automated responses for the sake of saving time? While Baby Boomers might be completely satisfied with a few free vouchers, a Millennial customer may want something entirely different. The trick is in knowing who your customers are and how to cater to their individual preferences and needs. Sound impossible? It may not be as complicated as you might think.

So what’s the first step to discovering what your customers really want? Ask them. Go directly to the source and find out what they want and what you can do to be authentic and accommodating on their terms. Find out what your Baby Boomer customers value and appreciate. Take the time to understand how to best communicate with your Millennial customers, and so on and so forth. But, by all means never assume that all members within a cohort are created equal. Knowing what one individual wants doesn’t necessarily translate into understanding all. However, by arming yourself with a deeper knowledge of your various cohorts, you will be equipped to meet your customer’s unique needs and retain valuable relationships in the future.

As silly as it might sound, it’s easy to forget that customers are humans. Having a bad experience with a product or service can ruin their day, put them in a bad mood and significantly affect how they view your brand. That’s why it’s so critical to never lose that personal touch no matter how large your company might be. Just like my recent experience with a major airline, I was seeking a personal response to my personal situation, not an automated answer from an impersonal company. Having their ear meant so much and knowing that my words were heard, and changes were made to ensure no one else ever had to go through what I did, meant that much more.

So where do you go from here? Be authentic, keep it personal, and seek to see a complaint through to resolution. It’s really as simple as that. There’s no way to prevent negative experiences from happening, but with a little effort and a willingness to listen, you have the opportunity to turn unhappy customers into brand advocates that last a lifetime. Which do you choose?

Guest Post: The Mother Standard® of Care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America®

CTCA logo

By: Christine Hill, Guest Experience Officer, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center

Every day I hear stories from both patients and stakeholders (our term for employees) about how they feel the presence of the Mother Standard of Care® at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA).

The Mother Standard is exactly what it sounds like: Stakeholders treat patients, caregivers and each other as if they were members of their own family.

Would it be OK if our dad had to wait days or even weeks to get a lab or scan result back from the doctor? Would it be OK if our sister had cancer and no one told her everything about her medical condition in terms that she could understand? Would it be OK if our brother did not know every treatment option available for his disease? Would it be OK if our mother did not feel compassionate care from every one of her care providers, including culinary, housekeeping, travel and the clinical team? No, it would not be OK, so why would we provide anything less for each guest who walks through our doors?

“People may not remember what you said or did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” This is a paraphrase of Maya Angelou and something I think about every day. At CTCA, we have an uncanny ability to read our patients and caregivers. We know when they need a smile, a hug or an escort to their next appointment. We know when they need a diversion from the cancer they are fighting and provide complementary outings to the zoo, an entertainment show, the local movie theater or a fun restaurant. We know when to talk to them, and we know when to just sit quietly and hold their hand. We know when to share a funny story and we know when to provide them with more information about their cancer.

I am always amazed when I hear that our patients feel the difference at CTCA. And I hear it over and over again, so I know it is not a fluke. Patients tell me, “I feel so hopeful here” and “I feel so safe here.” Music to my ears! Those are the two statements that I want to hear more than anything else and, thanks to my fellow stakeholders, I hear them often.

I am also amazed that more healthcare organizations do not do the easiest thing in the world to improve their service: Ask and listen to your customers! We do that all the time and in many different ways, with no retribution to anyone. It is the only way any service can improve. It is the only way any service can go from good to great. Ask your customers what they want or need, and listen to what they say. Once you are good at listening, you can take the next step and anticipate. You will get better at knowing what they want before they even know it.

Guest Blog Post: Sandals Resorts – LOVE Social Media

Sandals Resorts L.O.V.E.s Its Guests

Sandals Resorts believes in providing guests with the very best Luxury-Included® amenities and making good on their motto, “Love Is All You Need”. Being a Caribbean family-run company and a couples-only luxury all inclusive, it only seems natural that “love” has become the mantra for its Social Media and Online Customer Service team. Sandals Resorts L.O.V.E. their guests and aim to show this adoration in every aspect of their service from offline to online.

L – Listening

As with all healthy and successful relationships, you have to take the time to listen. Online review sites like TripAdvisor are popular forums for guests to share their experiences, give other travellers advice and express what they’d like to see in the future. As a result, Sandals Resorts have actually dedicated full-time team members of their Social Media team whose sole function is to engage with and listen to guests on online review sites. These team members treat each review, whether positive or negative, as a chance listen and learn from guests. They personally reach out to guests and gets at the heart of each concern in an effort to share this feedback with leadership and operations teams. They show return guests that they’ve listened and, since it’s a public forum, show potential guests that they are continually evolving to meet guests’ needs and wants…but we’ll get to that part later!

O – Opportunity

A part of why Sandals Resorts has been so wildly successful and voted world’s best 18 years in a row by consumers is that they are committed to innovation. The story of how Beaches Resorts was created is one of listening to feedback and an spotting opportunity. The Beaches Resorts brand has the same Luxury-Included® concept as Sandals Resorts, but are open for everyone to book (not just couples.) After visiting some of the world’s most romantic resorts at Sandals, many couples found themselves with a need for a resort that is open to kids too…usually 9 months later. Sandals Resorts listened to this feedback and spotted an undeniable opportunity, and in 1997, they opened the doors to its first luxury all-inclusive brand that welcomed families: Beaches Resorts.

Taking the daily practice of spotting opportunities through listening a step further, the brand developed the Culinary Concierge Program. Travelling with kids can be challenging and if you add in a few food allergies, finding an accommodating place to vacation with your family can be even more taxing. The development of the Culinary Concierge Program stemmed from the growing need for safe yet tasty food options for kids and adults with allergies and special dietary requests. Now, anyone can call in advance and speak with a personal on-resort Culinary Concierge to help plan out meals at any restaurant. Sandals Resorts doesn’t shy away from special requests, they embrace them and that’s what sets a truly luxurious experience apart from the rest.

On resort, they keep their eyes and ears open to observe what guests are saying. They often share the story of a butler guest who wanted to propose to his girlfriend on the beach. The butler immediately began to set up a romantic candlelight dinner on the beautiful white-sand beach. Unfortunately, it rained that evening and the guest was forced to change his plans…or so he thought. The butler sent the guest and his girlfriend out for dinner and spent the evening creating a beach experience on the couple’s private balcony! With a few well-placed umbrellas, seashells, flowers, sand and beach balls, this butler was able to give this couple an experience they will surely never forget…not to mention, an engagement story for the books! It’s all about recognizing an opportunity to “wow” guests.


V – Vocalize

Sandals Resorts breaks down its vocalizing opportunities into two parts: internally and externally.

  • Internally – Their Social Media “Listening” Team reports weekly to a central leadership team. This means each resort is able to learn from an experience that occurred at another resort. If there is a reoccurring challenge, it is resolved for all properties from just one property’s experience. All guest feedback finds its way back to our key decision makers and from this, they’re able to grow together.
  • Externally – As mentioned before, Sandals Resorts doesn’t shy away from issues or suggestions; they embrace them, so naturally responding to guests is extremely important. They frequently engage one-on-one with guests to see that their needs and desires are met while on resort. Online, they interact with guests across all social channels, whether it is a response to a question or just sharing in their vacation excitement. They’ve even been know to take polls on social media to make operational decisions. For example, what kind of premium rum they should serve (by the way, that’s included, too!)

In a lot of cases, the internal and external vocalization comes together seamlessly. One of their dedicated Online Review Coordinators, Lauren, noticed a review from a bride-to-be who was having some pre-travel concerns. Lauren reached out to the bride, got all of her information and then internally vocalized with the wedding and resort teams who immediately got together to resolve any outstanding issues and ensure that from that moment onward, she had a great experience. The team worked together, the bride had a fantastic wedding (which she raved about online with a follow-up review) and is currently planning a romantic getaway to another one of their resorts. True story! Listening and identifying opportunities means nothing if there is no communication.

E – Evolve

Sandals Resorts CEO Adam Stewart preaches the gospel of innovation every day of life. He believes that innovation has always been and will always be the way forward for Sandals and Beaches Resorts – it’s what sets them apart. They continuously invest in their properties located in Jamaica, Bahamas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada and Barbados every year. This tradition is a way of practicing what they preach because they must invest to evolve. He challenges each team, “It’s good but how can we make it better?”

Take a look at their newest property: Sandals LaSource Grenada. This resort was the brand’s opportunity to take all of the feedback they had listened to, all of the opportunities spotted and get together as a team to discuss the evolution of the brand. Sandals LaSource Grenada takes innovation beyond the ream of their guests imagination with pools in the sky, Japanese soaking tubs on the balcony, swim-up suites, living rooms in the pool, and so much more. It was created by taking feedback from guests and reimagining it to meet every expectation they never knew they had.


Sandals Resorts were built for love so it’s not surprise that they L.O.V.E their guests on social media and customer service as well through Listening, Opportunities, Vocalizing and Evolving.

You can find Sandals Resorts on social at:


4 Keys to Excellent Customer Service

Customer service. We’ve all had our fair share of positive and negative experiences, and more often than not the worst experiences are the ones that stand out in our memories for years to come. When I started my company, Advocate Market Research, more than 15 years ago my goal was to help businesses gain a truer picture of their consumers by becoming the ‘voice’ of their consumer, and ultimately their ‘advocate.’ And when it comes to customer service, isn’t that what we all want, an advocate? Someone that will support our stance and empathize with our experience whether good or bad. So before you respond to your next customer service issue, here are 4 Key Tips to help ensure that your customer’s experience is a positive one.

1.) Listen, Listen, Listen: I’ve seen it all too often – a customer shares a frustration or complaint about a product or service and the company responds immediately by talking, explaining and trying to rationalize the issue. So what’s the problem? Consumers want to be heard and understood. Before jumping to a quick solution, take the time to truly listen, empathize and acknowledge the customer’s situation. By acting as a listening board, you will provide a safe place for your customers to share their frustrations and suggestions.

2.) Unpack the Baggage: While your customers might be disappointed with your service or product for a various number of reasons, we can’t forget they are also bringing their own baggage to that experience. Maybe they’ve had multiple bad experiences with your company or perhaps it’s something deeper? No matter what the situation, context is always key. Unless you understand the baggage, you won’t understand why they are responding in a certain way. Know your customers, know their baggage and you will excel at customer service.

3.) Make it Personal: In a world filled with technology and automation, never lose sight of the fact that it’s people in the end that we are really trying to relate to and understand. It’s our job to listen and act as a customer advocate, so try to understand and speak at their level. Whether it’s a face-to-face experience, a phone call or a personal message, taking the time to relate to your customers on a personal level speaks volumes. And vice versa – nothing aggravates a frustrating customer service experience like a lack of sincerity or genuine concern.

4.) Don’t Just React, Respond: How you respond to your customers and the way you extend the olive branch matters. When I think of the word react I think of a quick action, or an impulse, something with little thought or reflection. Do not simply react to your consumers, instead take the time to listen and respond with a sincere solution. Oftentimes companies will spot a negative comment about their service or product on social media and quickly react by deleting the comment or blocking the user. May this never be! Instead – we should see these types of interactions as opportunities to let our customer service skills shine! By showing your followers how you respond to a negative complaint you are letting your customers know that you truly care and will do whatever it takes to make the situation right.

At the end of the day there isn’t a secret formula for excelling at customer service. Simply listen, make it personal, and take the time to truly understand what your customer wants and needs. Invest in your customer and they will invest in you.