Customer Service Revolutionary: Kristin Cummings

We asked the panelists of our upcoming Customer Service Revolution Event to tell us a little about themselves and what inspires their passion for truly great customer experience. Meet our first Customer Service Revolutionary: Kristin Cummings!


Kristin Cummings, Marketing, Client Experience and Brand Management Leader


I recently completed a three-year tenure as the Director of Marketing and Communications with my alma mater, St. Catherine University. Prior to that, I spent 25 years in the financial services industry, that last 15 of which focused on helping my clients increase profitability and seize new growth opportunities by strengthening their client experiences across business units and communication channels.


As a consumer, I prefer to obtain service either online or phone.  I’m a huge fan of the personal connection and direct communication that a telephone conversation offers, but I also enjoy the security of a well-documented ‘service trail’ that comes with email or account notes and texts.


Sullivan’s Steak House, Raleigh, NC.  I LOVE THIS STORY!

My husband and I were in Raleigh on client business and decided to grab a nice dinner on our last night in town. From the moment we called for a reservation to the moment we left the building (and beyond…), we were made to feel as if we were their most important patrons.

Yes, the food and wine were amazing, but their service was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before and have not experienced since (market differentiator, anyone??). Our server knew the menu like the back of his hand and helped us navigate what to order based on our preferences and what he believed to be the best Sullivan’s had to offer; he did not disappoint. Equally important (if not more), our server’s personality was attentive and impeccable, yet relaxed and fun-loving….exactly as advertised.

At first, we thought…”well, maybe we just lucked out with this guy,” but being client experience nerds, we spent a good deal of our dinner observing those around us and found all were treated to the exact same level of service. It was the epitome of brand promise fulfillment, the result of well-executed sales/customer choreography. I was so impressed…and to be honest, seriously geeked-out!

As we finished our dinner, we were joking with our server about how savvy he was with his professional crumb-scraper, sharing with him our love of these handy little tools and lamenting over the fact that you ‘can’t buy them anywhere.’  We asked him if we could snag one from the kitchen or purchase one. He replied that he couldn’t do it….crumb catchers are apparently much-stolen items at restaurants nation-wide! Hopes dashed, but tummies full and spirits lifted, we paid our check and completed a client survey card.

About a week later, back in Minneapolis, we received a card in the mail from Sullivan’s Steakhouse…a hand-written note from our server thanking my husband and I for the opportunity serve us.  At the bottom of the envelope? A Sullivan’s Steakhouse crumb scraper! I’m not sure if he had his manager’s approval or not, but one thing is certain…he created a life-long customer.


Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. Hands-down.

A sometimes-stand-up comedian and fax-machine sales rep, got crazy with a pair of pantyhose and a few thousand bucks and revolutionized the women’s undergarment industry! Sure, she went on to make bucket-loads of money, but her story – to me anyway – is more important than that.

Her philosophy, practice and philanthropy focus on empowering women to be and become anything they dream. And speaking of philanthropy, she also pledged to give away half her wealth to better the world around her. What’s not to love?!


Be free to fail.  My swimming coach imparted this wisdom more than 30 years ago and they still hold true for me today. I firmly believe you can’t be successful unless you’re willing to fall flat on your face.

I keep an Edward Gorey illustration of a little boy prying open the razor-sharp teeth of a dragon with the caption “some things are scary” in my office to remind me that moving forward and achieving success requires risk and fearless exploration.

Catch Kristin and learn more about her and her revolutionary ideas around customer service management at our upcoming happy hour 9/14!












Aeritae Consulting