Poor customer service results in long term brand damage


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Waterfront restaurantAmerican Express Global Customer Barometer, a survey conducted in ten countries examined the public attitudes and preferences of consumers toward customer service. While Australian customers ranked high as the most vocal when it comes to bad customer service, the results and feelings of consumers are still universal.

Just think about the effects of poor customer service on our own shores and how easily bad news spreads so quickly. That same bad news continues to spread – reminds us when we played telephone as school children – the story grows legs of its own by the time the last child hears the story because the facts have become so distorted. Probably one of the most common examples revolves around customer experiences in restaurants. Diners are reluctant to say much during an evening out with friends, coworkers, or family; after all who wants to ruin their evening complaining about slow service or mediocre food. That restaurant however becomes part of the “blood oath” never to visit again. We might see a Facebook entry or a Tweet, but for the most part, one person tells another person and before long that bad experience causes lasting brand damage.

The unfortunate part of poor customer service is when the consumer doesn’t vocalize their complaint, but no longer returns to that particular establishment. The business owner may be completely unaware of the problems or circumstances that encompassed that bad experience.So what’s the solution?

Businesses need to find more efficient ways to gauge customer service. Interestingly enough, there is a restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens called Blue Water where the chef comes out of the kitchen and stops by each table to inquire about the guests entire dining experience. It only takes a moment; it’s completely unobtrusive, and more like another way to view feedback as a barometer to help this fairly new restaurant raise their customer service standards. If a business owner knows something has gone wrong, he can then figure out ways to correct the mistakes thus providing better customer service experiences for the future.

The American Express Global Customer Barometer reminds us that every interaction counts, and when business owners train and hire quality employees, keep customer service personal, be receptive, be intuitive about their needs through body language and anticipate customer needs, customers react with their loyalty and their business. A consumer who has become a loyal patron of an establishment is more likely to forgive a faux pas and still return – understanding that mistakes can happen. It’s just building that solid foundation that requires a lot of work. Are you up for the challenge?

photo credit: La Citta Vita

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Cheryl Hanna
Service Untitled
Cheryl Hanna is a successful real estate sales person in Florida and has used her customer service knowledge and experience to set her apart and gain a competitive edge in a very difficult market. Cheryl has been writing professionally since 1999 and writes for several blogs and online publications


  1. Cheryl, once again your blog communicates such a valuable message. It’s so important that business owners and managers get genuine feedback on the spot from customers; good feedback to reinforce what the establishment does well and to uncover issues that may have never been verbalized, but will cause them to never return. My son is general manager at a NY restaurant and he calls it “touching the table.” He always stops by each table and finds out what brought his diners into the restaurant in the first place, what they like best, if there were any dishes that didn’t meet their expectations, etc. By asking questions and really listening to the answers, he doesn't only uncover some minor complaints which he is able to quickly resolve, but builds a strong bond with the customer too. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise. Richard Shapiro, The Center For Client Retention @richardRshapiro

  2. I wish more companies would see the importance of focusing on customer service. When you put your customer first, the customers know it. With the rise of the social customer, everyone knows what companies have the worst customer service experience and they tell their friends and families when they encounter bad customer service. It has come to the point that companies cannot afford to provide bad service and yet many have not figured that out.

    We must remember that it is much cheaper to keep a current customer than it is to lure in new ones. That on top of the fact that we have so many options both nationally and internationally, that the only way to stand out is with the customer experience. I like the mentions of what I like to call a “personal touch”, like the chef walking out and talking to each table. These actions always stand out for me and I would think most customers appreciate them. Such acts are usually something small that doesn’t take much time and yet still makes a large impact.


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