Hey Customer, I Have Nothing To Hide


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MailChimp Monkey Has Nothing To Hide Either!

Everyone in customer service land knows that we can’t please everyone. We try very hard but sometimes, we must accept that we gave it our best shot and send the customer on their way to find something that will make them happy.

When I worked at Phone.com, I would do everything in my power to assist a customer but if I ran out of options, I had zero shame in admitting (and luckily a really amazing boss who allowed me to do this),

“Well, I can’t help you but I can find a company who can.”

From my experience, trust is gained for your brand when you act with a “see it through to the end” perspective. And, even if you hand off your customer to another company, give it a few months–they’ll remember your caring service and more often than not, will return to your open arms.

My sister owns a home cleaning service in Southern California’s High Desert. She works her butt off to make sure customers have sparkling homes and giant smiles. In a dream world, every customer would be delighted!

One recent interaction became a bit rocky. This particular long term customer had always been a challenge, but well worth it, as once they referred friends in neighboring homes. Jackie bent over backward to make them happy by discounting services, free hours of cleaning, extra special touches on areas of their home and more but her patience was wearing thin. They continued to demand more for less money. If you know my sister, who is also a diesel mechanic and is one of the toughest chicks I know, she has a feisty side.

The customer continued to knock her down, no matter what she offered. She didn’t know if she wanted to give up and tell them to find someone else or if she wanted to keep trying. She knew her employees were doing an amazing job, as she would check their work, but she also knew that there could be something she was missing.

Ultimately, she sent her customer this email as one last attempt to save the relationship:

“It was brought to my attention the severity of the displeasure our services have brought to your family. I sincerely apologize as I was not aware of how truly unhappy you were. I value my customers very much and I strive to ensure they are content with what my company has to offer, the work that is performed and the customer service received from myself. I would like to take a moment to inquire as to how I can make your services exceptional. If perhaps you feel there is nothing that can be done, I have included the phone numbers of home cleaning companies in the High Desert. I hope that we may continue to serve you, however if we cannot I do hope you find comfort in the services another company has to offer. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you! :)”

She shared the email with me to proof read it beforehand and I was just so impressed that I had to blog about it.

Jackie Has Nothing To Hide With Her Customers

  • She took the time to admit defeat, admit displeasure and put herself in a vulnerable position.
  • She apologizes.
  • She asks for their input for what she can do better.
  • She provides contact information for additional cleaning services in their area to help them find a new cleaner.

It takes a brave employee to say, “Hey, if we don’t work for you–here’s who might be able to help!” and send them away. This may mean less $$ but in the end, it’s the brand trust and connection with the customer that will bring more $$ in the long run.

So my customer service friends, don’t give up! Don’t hide from your customer! If you have to send them away, do it with care.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jenny Dempsey
Jenny is Consumer Experience Manager for Apeel Sciences and FruitStand with more than 15 years of customer service experience. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on CustomerServiceLife.com.


  1. What a great, refreshing writing style you have. And, you make a valuable and important point. I am reminded of a story Kevin and Jackie Freiberg included in their great book, Nuts!: Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success. It is a perfect example of the point you are making.

    “One woman who frequently flew on Southwest, was constantly disappointed with every aspect of the company’s operation. In fact, she became known as the ‘Pen Pal” because after every flight she wrote in with a complaint.

    She didn’t like the fact that the company didn’t assign seats; she didn’t like the absence of a first-class section; she didn’t like not having a meal in flight; she didn’t like Southwest’s boarding procedure; she didn’t like the flight attendants’ sporty uniforms and the casual atmosphere.

    Her last letter, reciting a litany of complaints, momentarily stumped Southwest’s customer relations people. They bumped it up to CEO Herb Kelleher with a note: ‘This one’s yours.’

    In sixty seconds, Kelleher wrote back and said, ‘Dear Mrs. Crabapple, We will miss you. Love, Herb.’”

  2. I am sure that everyone who manages a service team has felt the need tgo say good-bye to an unsatisfiable customer. I know I did but, in my case, the customer refused to be fired but totally changed his behavior. And my employees felt both relieved and proud that we would stand up for the employees, even if it cost some money.

    Thinking back, I did the same as Jackie except I did it fact to face and the customer’s wife was sittging next to him. After I explained the situation and suggested he stat buying new equipment from a competitor he said our stuff and service was the best in the industry and promised to change. I then looked him square in the eye and said “You know you are a pain in the ass?” His wife smiled a bnig smile and said “he is, isn”t he.”

    WHat a great way to end a tough meeting.

  3. Hi Jenny – I very much enjoyed reading this post and could not agree more. Too often people try and maintain a relationship when it would it is not necessarily best for everyone involved. What you have described is what I personally call – ‘doing the right thing for the right reason’ – it is very honorable and authentic…. and I love it. Many thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you, Chip! I appreciate your kind words and comment with the story of the “pen pal”–so funny! I’ve also shared this with my sister. 🙂

  5. Sam–thanks for your great comment and sharing of your story (which I’m glad it ended with smiles)! It’s always such an interesting perspective to share about dealing with the most difficult of customers, isn’t it?

  6. Ian, thank YOU for reading my post and rephrasing “doing the right thing for the right reason”–it’s not always easy but it’s worth it in the end.

  7. Jenny , thank you for your kind comment. It is always easier dealing with a difficult customer when the spouse totally agrees with you, as in this case.


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