The Art of Customer Service

The Art of Customer Service

There really is an art to good customer service. After all, bad things happen, items don’t go where we want, all people don’t communicate well and some have really bad employees. None of this is an excuse not take care of the only person in business that matters, the customer. Without a customer spending their money on your business product or services, you do not have a business regardless how passionate you are about your business. I have a story about what good customer service looks like.

We live near a neighborhood chain restaurant outside Nashville, TN. It is about one mile away, so it is convenient to pick up food on the go when my wife and I have had a long Friday. I will not give you the restaurant’s name, but it does sound like something you would put on a hotdog. About 6 weeks ago, my wife called in an order and asked me to go pick it up. The young man stated it would be ready in 20 minutes. I arrive to pick up the order at 20 minutes only to find, the order was never placed. Another gentleman walked in and his order was never placed. It was becoming apparent this young man was just not doing his job. The other gentleman left and my wife asked me to stay for our order which took another 20 minutes. The manager brought out our food and apologized. He also told me our food was on the house for my wait and gave me a $20 gift card to please give them another chance. This is the kind of customer service needed to overcome a fairly major mistake.

So 3 weeks later, I went back for another try since the manager had given me the $20 gift card to give them another chance. This time the food was ready when I arrived and everything seemed to be normal until I got home with our styrofoam containers with our food. This trip my wife’s food was wrong but edible and she called just to let them know. The manager came to the phone and apologized profusely. He asked for our address and mailed another $20 gift card to give them another chance. Still fighting for our business and a chance to make things right.

Last night we decided to give them another try, again because of the manager sending the $20 gift card. I kid you not, the order was ready and everything seemed normal until we got home to unpack our food and you guessed it, part of our order was another person’s order. The one common denominator is this same young man that was totally out of his element. We now await our third $20 gift card from this desperate manager to make things right.

However, despite three separate screw ups, this manager, never made an excuse, never assigned blame and only asked for another chance to earn our business. Is this the type of customer service you give your customers when things go wrong? Or do you assign blame and make excuses? Things do go wrong, it is how you react when things go wrong that truly matters.

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else”. —Sam Walton

Image by Stuart Miles at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, grandfather of 1, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger, author and team leader with over 28 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.


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