Real Customer Service Example

7 Indicators You’re Hard To Do Business With

Mar 30, 2016

7 Indicators You’re Hard To Do Business With

by Mar 30, 2016

I need office furniture. So, I called my office furniture person, who visited me twice for discussion and guidance. The visits, which included visuals, helped me out.


The estimate I received was a bit high, but it included none of the pictures I selected. So I asked the rep to send me pictures of what is represented on the estimate, and I noticed that one picture of furniture was five different line items on the estimate. The estimate was so detailed that even the drawer handles were included as a separate SKU. And I had add up all of those different lines on my own to get the cost of the item

“This sure isn’t an easy process,” I thought. Then it got worse.

When I refined my choices, and a new estimate was issued, the grand total math was wrong. Worse, the math was off in my favor. By a lot. Meaning, if I signed that estimate, they would lose money. As a business owner, I’d hate to be on the losing end of that, so I pointed it out. You guessed it… a glitch in a far off system used by some distant person who failed to change that one value from X to Y. Where’s the accountability?

By now I’m thinking, “I just want furniture, why is this process so unfriendly?”

Then I asked for delivery by a specific date – allowing three and half weeks. I was told it was possible. After I placed my order, I learned it wasn’t going to happen. A bummer, but I found out in an email… from someone in the company I didn’t know. My rep didn’t even have the guts to break the news.

Exasperating. But, this entire experience is avoidable simply by acting like a customer.

Could a customer say one of the following about your business?

  • They never admit they made a mistake. People always respect a willingness to admit an honest mistake. In fact, you often get a second chance.
  • These estimates are confusing. Complexity driven by backend systems is never a path to “easy for a customer.”
  • Providing feedback is hard. Can your customers use Facebook, the phone, and the website to get in touch? Do we respond?
  • They never get back to me. We have to be dependable, no matter what it takes.
  • The hold music, invoices, and marketing materials all say different things and look different, too. It’s impossible to have a memorable brand with visible inconsistencies.
  • Their staff is always grumpy. Do you help the staff find joy and purpose in their work?
  • I just want to talk to a human! In the age of automation, it’s wise to remember that humans have value – as long as they feel valued.

If you feel any of these might be true, dig in a bit. Research. Chart out your customer touch points and ask for feedback. Make improvements. Your growing list of customers will thank you.

P.S. Compliments to Tom Fishburne, the Marketoonist ( whose image is used up top. His hilarious depiction of our marketing world is convicting and entertaining.


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