These days we seem to be getting more detached from our customers rather than being closer to them. I get the feeling that this will change soon as the economy moves from "transactional to interactional" and people demand more of an experience with their purchases. But that isn't the point of my article.

Often as business owners we struggle to get the importance of customer service across to our team. It can feel like the minute we start talking service, people's eyes glaze over and there can be a bit of a feeling of "we've heard it all before". One way to overcome this is to invite two customers to come and talk to your team.

The first customer should be a fan, a very happy customer. The second one should be someone who has had a really bad experience and who is really grumpy. I guarantee both will get your team sitting up and taking notice. Doing this is a profoundly impacting way for your staff to understand the end result of their actions, both positive and negative.

I've seen this in action and I've encouraged many businesses to do it. The result has always been profound. In fact now I recommend that businesses should invite both happy and unhappy customers in to talk to their teams on a regular basis, once off is just not enough.

The other bonus that comes with doing this is that your two customers both get something out of it. The happy customer gets a buzz out of sharing the love, and the unhappy customer gets heard, which is often all that people want. You might even keep the unhappy customer and turn them into a raving fan, if the issues they complained about are rectified of course.

The big question is - are you brave enough to bring both types of customers in to talk to your team? You might not like everything they have to say, but you need to hear it and so does your team.