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HPMD Bullets


Good service is often a matter of doing a 100 little things significantly well. It is surprising how even a small gesture (or lack of gesture) will have a huge impact on a customer in a very short space of time. An entertaining example of a service encounter gone awry can be found in the 1984 Best Picture, Terms of Endearment.

Deborah Winger and John Lithgow star in a scene at the local supermarket, where Ms. Winger is short a few dollars at the check-out line. In her brief interaction with the check-out woman, you can identify a surprising number of service gaffes. In fact, we put this question to four groups of customer service representatives who attended one of our training seminars. The first group of students found 16 service errors, the second group identified 21 problems, the third group found 29 issues, and the fourth group found 31 gaffes! Of course, we set this up as a friendly competition by announcing to each class the prior group's score. It interesting to note that while each group tried to "out-do" the observation skills of the prior one, they only averaged a 43% overlap. Service is indeed a matter of perceptions!

Here is the combined list of service gaffes that the seminar attendees found, which we title "55 ways to leave your customer:"
  1. she did not greet the customer
  2. she was impolite
  3. she never smiled
  4. she had no sympathy
  5. she showed impatience
  6. she was rude
  7. she did offer any compromise
  8. she embarrassed the customer
  9. she was judgmental
  10. she used poor tone
  11. she was confrontational
  12. she made no acknowledgment of the customers problem
  13. she offered no apology
  14. she showed zero empathy
  15. she never said "thank-you"
  16. she showed very negative body language
  17. she was ticked off, angry
  18. she was condescending
  19. she was defensive
  20. she showed antipathy toward the customer
  21. she did not offer alternatives
  22. she was nasty
  23. she had a negative attitude
  24. she was too personal
  25. she was insulting
  26. she was irritated
  27. she was accusing
  28. she did not offer to help
  29. she did not listen
  30. she was no "cheering fan!"
  31. she alienated other customers
  32. she created bad word-of-mouth
  33. she had no manners (p & q's)
  34. she offered no support
  35. she had no flexibility
  36. she had no sense of humor
  37. she was impersonal
  38. she denied there was any bad service
  39. she prejudged the customer
  40. she was very demanding
  41. she was very punishing
  42. she showed no creativity
  43. she had no trust
  44. she did not collaborate with the customer
  45. she did not use any problem solving techniques
  46. she ignored the customer's plea for help
  47. she was indifferent
  48. she was argumentative
  49. she was stubborn
  50. she "rolled her eyes" at the customer
  51. she smirked at the customer
  52. she slammed the cash register drawer
  53. she "sassed" back when criticized
  54. she did not "own" the situation
  55. she was all policy, no care
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