What Ever Happened to GOOD Customer Service?


Once upon a time, good customer service was top priority for many companies. In fact, companies regularly affirmed their promise and commitment to good service. For some companies, customer service was a key factor, while others wore it like a badge of honor.

Remember when the phrase “the customer is always right” was in vogue. At that time, companies would pride themselves on a strong customer commitment and keeping the customer satisfied in order to regenerate business. What really happened? It is as though inherent respect for one another has gone out the window. These days, good customer service is virtually non-existent. Customer service has been sacrificed in exchange for making money. When did the almighty dollar substitute for treating others respectfully? Somewhere along the road we lost our way. We somehow forgot what it means to have innate compassion and empathy, as well as civility towards others.

After receiving substandard service in so many business interactions lately, I wondered what was happening. The lack of customer service from the staff at the doctor’s office, whose inability to treat patients with kindness is apparent to the business that puts on a good face until you sign your name on the dotted line. Do they not realize that their customers, patients and the like keep their businesses thriving? More importantly, do they not understand that people are due the utmost empathy and compassion in all interactions? Remember the Golden Rule, “Do unto others, as you would have them done unto you.”

As one who has completed several customer service compliance audits with over 500 in the area of apartment services, I am amazed at the lack of respect for others. In many of my interactions with leasing office personnel, I am in awe at one, how the staff person obtained a job that requires good customer service in the first place. Secondly, who are the leaders leading and developing the staff working under their tutelage?

Should we hold the deliverer of poor customer service accountable or should light be shone in the direction of those who allow the poor customer service habits to continue? As agents of the company, there is a responsibility to provide good customer service, have genuine respect for others and facilitate the company’s mission while establishing, promoting and protecting the brand.

How do I know the difference between good versus bad customer service? I know because I have been the recipient of both. As a consumer, I know how it feels to be appreciated and valued as customer. Conversely, I know how it feels to be disrespected and undervalued. In addition, I have conducted compliance audits where the customer service was outstanding and others where it was not so much. There were instances when I felt special as a customer and others not. Ultimately, at the end of every interaction, the customer should always leave happy.

The takeaway message is ask the hard questions. Am I giving others my best? Am I treating others the way I want to be treated? Am I making a lasting impression that positively or negatively impacts my company? If the answer is yes, continue to fine-tune this behavior and strive for improvement. If the answer is no, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and ask if you would like to be treated in that manner?