6 clues to customer service or disservice

I believe there can be too much of a good thing.  Here are some examples of consequences from excessive behavior:

  1. Too much ice cream = bloated lactose intolerance or weight gain
  2. Too much time on the computer = blurred vision, head-ache, lack of exercise
  3. Too much television = lack of real life
  4. Too much work = not enough play
  5. Too much sex = Wait a minute! is there such a thing?

 Which leads me to my next query…

Are there actions in life that are never too much? (pardon the double negative) For example, can you ever have too much education, tolerance, or customer service?  I feel safe saying no to all three instances.

I believe strongly in higher and continuing education. After graduating at age 44 with an MBA, I realized it is never too late to learn something. As a society, we lack a great enough capacity to accept those different from ourselves and could use a heavier dose of tolerance.

Last on the list is customer service. I am considered a customer experience maven, and I can’t imagine anyone believing they are receiving excessive service.

Here is where I was wrong! Recently I heard from a colleague that someone complained she was over-serviced by sales associates who “asked her random questions.” In other words, in the off chance of building a relationship and enhance the experience, the sales people were trying to engage the customer. Coming from a bridal background, I am familiar with and successfully utilize a very personalized service approach.

Where is the line drawn between nagging and assistance?

There are always two sides to every story. It is certainly possible that in the associates quest to aid the client:

  1. He overstepped boundaries by attempting to become too familiar or inappropriate with the customer.
  2. He misread the customer’s cues and didn’t let her shop in peace.
  3. His selling style was too aggressive for this customer.
  4. He was inauthentic and fake, which turned her off.
  5. He tried too hard and came off as desperate for a sale.
  6. He was snooty to the customer.
  7. He wasn’t snooty enough.

Lesson learned: level of service is relative

Just because I prefer extensive customer service does not mean everyone else does too. My advice is that when first setting out to work with a client, set out to understand his/her service needs from the start.

She may be a window shopper, or prefer not to engage in conversation with you. She may be looking for something in particular and be in a hurry to get on with her day, and not have/make time for small talk. Maybe you have spinach between your teeth and she can’t stop staring.

Know that it may not be you, but it might. Don’t take it personally. Instead, use it as an opportunity to broaden your skills. Understanding the difference between service and disservice is difficult but not impossible.

What level of service are you comfortable receiving? Have you ever had a salesperson go too far in the name of customer service. Share your stories and experiences.


Related articles

8 thoughts on “6 clues to customer service or disservice

  1. Pamela Morse says:

    I believe the punishment should fit the crime and the level of service must fit the expectations. All your examples could easily influence a shopper. I have a strange personal shopping style that greatly appreciates speed and specificity. If my questions are answered to my satisfaction I am more likely to be the one pressing to close the sale than the salesperson. Service is seriously in the eye of the beholder. Tuning in from the start, as you so aptly recommend has to be key.


  2. Miriam Gomberg says:

    Pam, we will have to go shopping together for sure. I am not a window shopper for the most part, but usually have a purpose to my outings. It is interesting to see how people perceive good service. Thanks for commenting. Miriam


  3. Marc Zazeela says:

    Obviously, customer service cannot be employed as a mechanical, robotic process. As in most of life’s experiences, there are truly very few black and white issues. There is really no “one size fits” all solution. We try to find some middle ground where we can please the largest groups of people through behavior that has been proven to work.

    I would imagine that many customer service reps are taught to be this and to do that. So, the fault may lie in the system that produces them and not with the individual rep. It becomes obvious when you have spoken with more than one rep from the same company, and they all behave and speak the very same things in the very same ways.

    Sadly, some companies don’t seem to understand that their customers are people and not pieces of paper with $$$$$$ printed on them.



    1. miriamgomberg says:

      As a customer service and training manager, I train associates how to take care of the customers needs. I tend to advise as to how to initially approach and speak with them but then challenge them to create their own dialogue with the client. Thanks for stopping by Marc!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s