What my father taught me about customer service.

I was busy yesterday celebrating father’s day! We met my brother for lunch and then went shopping at the outlet center and I did not get home until 6:30 or so and had to finish up the article due on my first freelance assignment. Needless to say I did not get to post this yesterday, but I feel it is appropriate and hopefully you will enjoy reading it during your Monday.

I think everyone has a customer service “style”. Some are more aggressive, some are more laid back.

My Mom was always mild mannered and nice–even when her order at a restaurant came out blatantly wrong she refused to send it back. I remember one time she ordered steak and got fried shrimp instead (don’t even ASK me how this happened) and she ate it anyway. My mom is never one to want to kick up a fuss–steak or no. Anytime there might be something wrong with an order say, with the dry cleaning or a problem with a bill she takes a deep breath and tries to be kind. Even when people don’t deserve it.  I think this is admirable–she ascribes to the train-of-thought that perhaps the sales clerk is having a bad day, or maybe they were super busy and just got sloppy. She truly believes that everyone wants to do a good job, so there must be some extenuating circumstance that led their product to be below average. Right?

My father on the other hand is no-nonsense. He wants the product that was promised on time and for a fair price. If he feels this isn’t happening, he isn’t afraid to speak up. As much as I admire my mother’s way of handling things I prefer my father’s style. I feel that if you are spending your hard earned money the vendor needs to provide a reason for why you should spend with them instead of somewhere else (a discount, or even a smile go a looong way). Often this comes down to customer service. Even in his own practice, when I worked there during the summers in high school he said I needed to be extra nice and kind to everyone who came through the door.

“Why?” I asked once, when I was fourteen. “Sometimes they’re really rude to me!”

“Because they pay for you to go to private school. And cheerleading camp.” My dad replied, and it sank in. They could go anywhere, and they chose to see my Dad. Because of this-we have a very comfortable life! They deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and kindness!

So it’s when I feel like company’s take for granted  you will come spend with them, then I really get ticked off when things aren’t as they should be. After my fiasco with Expedia in Las Vegas (I had booked a flight on the internet, they had charged my card but not sent me a confirmation or a ticket and I had to spend AN HOUR AND A HALF on the phone with them to get it reissued. The real wrench came when they were going to charge me MORE for the ticket because after an hour and a half the price had gone up. I almost had a stroke while on the phone because I was so angry….), I can safely say I will NEVER book with them again.

I personally feel one of the great things about the recession is how it has changed the customer service aspect of every industry. Money is tight, so when people spend their pennies it has to be for a damn good reason, and they expect it to go as far as it can. One of my pet peeves is automated answering systems-obviously if I’m calling I want to speak to a real person, not a machine. Or “Dottie” in Sri Lanka (and I know she was in Sri Lanka because I asked…I’m not being politically incorrect here)… who has to wait ten minutes to be connected by phone to her supervisor in America (this is one of the reasons it took so long for me to sort out the problem with Expedia). I mean, really?

I’m not advocating that you should be rude to people as part of your “customer service” style, I’m just saying that one of the best things I learned from my Dad was not only to expect excellent customer service but also to give it in exchange for one the most precious commodities…the almighty dollar. He also taught me NOT to be afraid to speak up when something isn’t right and to be unafraid to ask for a discount or negotiate. After all it’s your money…no one is going to do it for you.

Thanks Dad!

What is your customer service style?


Carnivals and Mentions for this Post!

Yakezie  Carnival at Edward Antrobus
Carnival of  Financial Camaraderie at The University of Money
Carnival of  Retirement at Write and Get Paid
T’s  Weekend Ramblings at Young and Thrifty
Lifestyle  Carnival at Musings of an Abstract Aucklander
Carnival of MoneyPros at I am 1 Percent
Financial Carnival for  Young Adults 20’s Finances


13 thoughts on “What my father taught me about customer service.

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  3. The worst are those automated machine sales calls. I hardly ever answer our landline (er, mainly because it’s not plugged in 99 percent of the time) but I think all the last calls I answered, I was greeted with a mechanical recording.

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