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May 18, 201711:58 AMThe Gray Area

with Donna Gray

This unhappy mother wonders, what happened to customer care?

(page 1 of 2)

This past Mother’s Day weekend my husband, Dave, and I took a long road trip to a historic community where we met children and grandchildren for a holiday brunch. The best part of the trip, of course, was the visit with family. The dining experience was not so nice.

It began the moment we stepped up to the person controlling the influx of diners at the historic hotel restaurant to let her know that we were on time for our reservation. We were greeted with a very rude, “Not now, you’ll have to wait,” offered in a tone and attitude that spoke volumes about her not wanting to be there. It didn’t get any better from there. The buffet included still-thawing crab and shrimp, and cold egg dishes, among other disappointing choices.

We wished we had stayed in Dane County to enjoy the good food and service that always seems to be provided here. (While I’m polite enough to not share the location and hotel identity publicly here … feel free to ask me.)

Peter Drucker, Austrian-born management consultant, educator, and author, said, “The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that results exist only on the outside. The result of a business is a satisfied customer. Inside an enterprise there are only costs.”

In other words, customers don’t like to feel shortchanged. They want a good experience that includes good value and good feeling. Long-term business comes from happy customers!

Thinking about the lessons we all (should have) learned about customer service back in Business 101 can serve as a reminder that all customers expect:

  • Courtesy, friendliness, and a great attitude
  • Attention to a customer’s body language
  • Attention to every customer’s needs and details
  • Helpful, knowledgeable team members
  • Appropriate employee appearance and manners
  • A clean, organized place of business
  • Quality as good as advertised
  • Great products and services backed up by a guarantee
  • Products and services that are priced right for the value received
  • Quick service and help when you need it
  • Great selection of goods and services, and products available when needed
  • Good food choices and preparation
  • Convenient location and parking access
  • Easy ways to shop online


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