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Customer Service 101…is not always 101 today!

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Coming out of the pandemic I had more than one colleague tell me, “Bob, it seems like people have forgotten the basics of Customer Service.” And while I understand their thoughts, it has been challenging for both organizations and people to take care of the customers with so many other distractions.

However, on the opposite end…people are choosing to spend their money on a product or service, and they want to be taken care of in a timely, and friendly matter.

So why are we feeling this way, and what are those “back to the basics” qualities that we need to revisit?

Yes, the distractions are real for companies and their people. Some of them are understaffed and overworked. And it can be hard to keep up. However, I think these four traits are missing in some instances. How do we fix this? As hard as it seems to pull off, it boils down to training, mentoring, and coaching.

#1- Communication- It’s frustrating as a customer to be bounced around because no one in the company is communicating with each other. And with all the technology we have at our fingertips today, companies need to find a way to train people to talk to each other. This means employees need to leave their silos, be proactive and talk. However, what they want to do will work for the customer too.

2- Listening. This was part of another chapter, but it bears repeating. Sometimes organizations follow “their book” in situations. This magical book has all the answers to any customer’s question. Except when it doesn’t. Employees sometimes concentrate on what is in “the book” that they fail to actively listen to what the customer is trying to explain.

3-Empathy. This one is a two-way street as I believe both the employees and their customers need to get back to this one. A way to think about this one is to put yourself in each other’s shoes.

As a customer, what is it like to be that employee who is working their 3rd long shift in a row because people keep calling off or not showing up? How would you want to be treated by a customer if you were in their shoes?

And as an employee- what do your body language, actions, and your words look and sound like if you were the customer? Can you imagine what their day has been like, and now they are waiting for a long time without any recognition or action?

We all need to be more empathic with everyone. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but it can be done.

4-Follow-up. We are getting busy and we forget to follow up. But why? Again, if you’re an employee and someone contacts you and would like either

- more information about your services

- or would like to give you their business… Why isn’t there a follow-up?

What I realized early in my career is to underpromise and over-deliver. We have all heard this saying, correct? So why it is the exact opposite in a lot of situations today?

The Hospitable thing to do is to make that follow-up when you say you will, even if you don’t have the answer yet. It can be frustrating to be on the customer side and not get any information back.

But, just like empathy, I believe this one is a two-way street as well.

If you’re a customer or prospect, can you give the courtesy to the organization of either telling them yes or no? I agree that no one likes to be told “no, I don’t want your product or service”, it’s a part of doing business.

And this way, it helps the organization move on as well.

Take a look around your organization and see if these four concepts need to have the “rust shaken off them”. It will help your Customer Service 101.

Bob Pacanovsky is a Keynote Speaker and Strategic Trainer who works with organizations that want to deliver the highest levels of Service Excellence and Hospitality to attract and retain more loyal clients and employees.

To learn more, and to book Bob contact him:

Call (330) 352-6084 or email

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