What Ever Happened to Customer Service?

Posted by on Jan 23 2014

It happens all the time and I’m beginning to feel like I have a “customer service bad luck charm” hanging around my neck.

I go to the supermarket, and the checkout person spends more time talking to her coworker about how much she hates her job, than she spends thanking me for my business.

I call a contractor to fix a problem with the roof, and he never calls back.

I wait on hold for 30 minutes before the phone company picks up my call. Or worse, I get a recording that says, “Our phone lines are busy, try calling us back later.”

We are told over and over again that we have to be unique to catch the attention of prospective customers. But in most industries and professions, you aren’t all that unique. (There are hundreds of small business coaches!) Here’s one way you can shine above the rest: good customer service.

We’re becoming immune to poor customer service, probably because we receive bad service so often that we’re not expecting anything better. Even our colleagues will take other phone calls while on the phone with us, or read their email while we’re trying to have a conversation. It’s an epidemic.

Instead of getting angry and frustrated at businesses that don’t treat you right, create a list of “Things I’ll never do to my customers or colleagues.” Do everything you can to focus solely on your customers when you’re communicating with them. Send them thank-you cards after you start working together, or when a colleague sends you a referral.

These small things do matter and will make you shine…and bring you more business!


4 comments for now

4 Responses to “What Ever Happened to Customer Service?”

  1. Merlyn

    Hi Karyn,

    This post really hit home for me as I’ve had several great and not-so-great customer service experiences in the past week. You mentioned contractors not calling back. I’ve found that especially interesting since I’m doing remodeling work on my home. It’s amazing how many unreturned calls and no-shows for estimates I’ve had. I wonder ~ are they that busy that they don’t need the work?


    23 Feb 2007 at 3:19 am

  2. Hi Karyn,

    One of my pet peeves is when I say “thank you” to either a cashier for ringing me up, or grocery bagger for putting my groceries in my bag, or a barista giving me coffee at Starbucks and they respond with “No problem”.

    No problem? Really? They’re doing their job. A response like “no problem” tells me they think they went above and beyond their job for me.

    If you jumped through hoops for me and went above and beyond, then you can say “No problem.” Otherwise, a simple “You’re welcome” will do.

    Am I crazy?

    29 Jan 2014 at 1:40 pm

  3. Karyn Greenstreet

    NOT crazy, Frank. 🙂

    “No problem” is not an appropriate answer to a thank-you. It feels too casual and off-the-cuff, like they really didn’t listen to what you just said (they just want you to move on an make room for the next person in line). If it were me, I’d feel a “You’re very welcome and thank you for shopping with us today!” would be more appropriate.

    When we’re in the supermarket line, the checkout lady always says to my husband, “Thank you for bagging!”

    And he always says, “Thank you for ringing up our order!”

    Everyone smiles. Everyone wins. 🙂

    29 Jan 2014 at 3:28 pm

  4. Another wonderful article Karyn! It can become ‘annoying’ when not given the proper customer service or feedback after purchasing something… or even on a phone call. Over the years, I’ve found it’s one of two things. Either the person was never taught how to do something, or they don’t care. Awareness is a key, as well as good trainings.

    30 Jan 2014 at 1:35 pm

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