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Excellent Customer Service

Are your customers happy every time?  When they aren’t, how do you respond?  I recently had a bad experience at one of my favorite food places, and wrote to the owner.  His response exemplified all the best ingredients of excellent customer service.  Here’s what he did (paraphrased), and what we can all do, when we have a dissatisfied customer:

Acknowledge:  Thanks for your loyalty and continued business.

Apologize:  Sincere apology for the specific bad experience you had.

Explain:  [Not a defense] Here’s what happened to specifically cause your problem.

Action:  Here’s what I’ve done (or will be doing) to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Learning:  Here is what we have learned from your unfortunate experience.

Appreciation:  Thanks for letting us know.  It is important to hear from customers like you about what they are experiencing.

Compensation:  I would like to offer you (X) on your next order with us.

Promise:  We assure you the problem is solved and you will be happy from this point forward.

I was amazed by the completeness of this message, and the consideration shown by the owner of this small business, and immediately realized that these simple elements could serve even a billion dollar business.