Seven Customer Service Tips from “Surviving the Middle Miles” with Darryl Rosen

Editor’s note: Throughout the month of February I’ll be concentrating on a theme of Relationship Building here on the MarketingMel blog. 

A client of mine recently shared an excellent book on customer service with me. The book is called “Surviving the Middle Miles: 26.2 Ways to Cross the Finish Line with Your Customers”  by Darryl Rosen. The author, a one-time marathon runner, draws an analogy between business and running. Just like in a long distance race, the shiny newness wears off after you’re underway for a few miles but inside you know it’s still a long ways until the finish line!  As runner I loved the book’s name and related to its running/business theme. Rosen, who operated a very successful wine business, shares ways to provide the best for our customers. I’ll share some of my favorites here with you.

In his chapter titled “Appreciate Your Customers and Show it”  Rosen offers the following tips:

1- Say thank you- Now that may not seem like such a clever concept but you would be surprised how people, starting at a very young age, are not being taught those simple words. Rosen likes to send off hand written notes to customers. He even suggests making up reasons to say thank you!

2- It’s never too late- This example happened to me once. I was a recipient of a *long* overdue thank you from someone and guess what?  It felt great to be remembered. I really appreciated the gesture even if it was late, and it helped to cement a good working relationship between us. Even if you think the time has passed  to to say thank you, say it anyway!

The last chapter of the book is called, “Cheering for Others.” If you have competed in a running race or other athletic competition you know how much it means to have “cheerleaders” standing along the sidelines, particularly as you’re heading toward the home stretch. I’ve always loved it when my family makes it out to one of my running races and I see them cheering wildly at the end.  Rosen has that uplifting feeling in mind with the following common-sense tips.

3. Be flexible- Go with the flow and embrace change

4. Be likeable– Rosen says likeability is actually good for your health! It increases our self esteem which in turn lowers our stress levels!

5. Be real- Be honest and ethical and show credibility

6. Be a good communicator- Show humility

7. Be interested in others-Remember to turn the conversation back to your customer and CHEER!

This book is a quick read and I highly recommend it for anyone in the service business. Let me know which one of these tips resonates with you as you appreciate your customers.





  • Mel, all of these are great tips. #5 “Be real” really resonates with me because it truly affects everything else that you do. It’s hard to create that “know, like, and trust” factor and build mraningful relationships without it.

  • Linda Pucci says:

    I have to remember that it isn’t too late! Especially when I’ve dropped the ball and neglected to do something I’d intended to do to express my thanks for caring to someone.

  • Sarah Rowan says:

    I like # 1! My mom always taught me at a young age that something as simple as a thank you card goes a long way! I remember having to personally write thank you cards to all my friends who came to my birthday parties! Good to know this is still a valued action, even in business!

  • Sue Painter says:

    I particularly like the “be flexible” one. Businesses today are, for the most part, way too tied up in inflexible policies that hurt customer service and strangle creativity in employees, too. Just flex and get to a yes.

  • What a great analogy and wonderful tips. I wonder if people remember the social part of social media. And as a PR person, you live and die by the relationships you build and nourish. Thanks for the inspiring post.

  • Jeff Brunson says:

    I like these Mel. For me, the way to all 7 comes through number 5. Of course I would say that, right? Thanks for sharing these.

  • Bill Painter says:

    I like #3 – be flexible., as a friend of mine used to say “If you want to hear God laugh, make a plan.”

  • All of these are magic but by far the best that has always been my rock is the thank you card – a touch of personal gratitude speaks mountains.

  • You can never underestimate the power of a good thank you … unfortunately I find that many people forget to use those two simple words that hold so much power.

    I can tell you that as a service provider, just hearing those two words makes me want to put more effort into your projects and create something above and beyond … but when clients don’t even have the courtesy to say that you when you do something for them, I just want to project to be over and them to be gone!

    • maryellen says:

      Interesting view point Jennifer. I was thinking of it in terms of us thanking our clients but yes, it does work both ways.

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