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  • Karen Gregory


It takes twelve positive interactions to make up for one bad customer service experience. Twelve? In our world of instant gratification how many customers will give you twelve more chances to make it right? My guess is maybe one or two. We live in an information age where we can get statistics, ratings, reviews, opinions and a list of fifty other businesses that do what we do in a matter of seconds. Customer service has never been more important.

I was in the waiting room of the doctor’s office a couple weeks ago. My first visit there. Eventually I was called into a patient room and continued to wait. A full one hour and twenty-six minutes later the doctor walked in. What was obvious was that there was a customer service and scheduling problem at this particular office, and I took the opportunity to let that doctor know when he finally graced me with his presence. (I assure you there was no emergency, just poor planning on the office’s part, so my dissatisfaction was warranted.)

Just last weekend I was in Menard’s renting a tool at the customer service desk. The lady at the counter called someone to come up, get the tool, and then load it into my car. A young man came up right away and loaded the tool into a cart and walked outside to wait for me to finish at the counter with the paperwork. After a few minutes he came in to ask me where my car was and if I could walk out to the car with him to get this tool loaded because he “had other things to do.” Not kidding. I couldn’t imagine what was more important than serving the customer right in front of him, but apparently there was something, or someone, of greater value!

At Leadership In Action we believe in more than just customer service. Being average might get your customers to return, being exceptional gives you the edge on the competition. We talk about customer service a lot in our classes, but what we stress is that you are looking for customer loyalty. How do we serve the customer in front of us that will make that customer drive past the competition to get to us? We want our customers to tell others about us and tell them there is no better place to get training. Our goal goes beyond customer service. We strive for customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty just makes more sense. Treat your customers better than the competition. Give them a personal touch. Give them an experience. Give them quality. Prove to them they are important.

Nick works at a restaurant not far from our home. Every time we walk through the doors he greets us enthusiastically, genuinely seems to care that we are there, smiles when he talks, asks us about little things he has learned about us in conversation over the last few years, questions why we haven’t been there in a while, and lets us in on some of his life goals. We feel like we are the most important people in his world while he is serving us. Until just this week, Nick did all of this without even knowing the impression he had made on us! I don’t know if the company he works for even realizes how lucky they are to have someone who understands customer service like Nick does, but we’re going to let them know!


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