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Customer Service Excellence

How to Make Good on Bad Customer Service

by Lara Hobson on 06/16/15

When you receive bad service do you complain or just let it slide (chalk it up to the employee having a bad day)?  Constructive criticism can help the business improve if done appropriately (ie, not letting tempers flare).


If the business communicates to the customer that they are sorry and will try to make it right because they value you, then it’s a great learning opportunity.  Be thankful that the problem was addressed.  We all know that some customers just can’t ever be happy, but we’re all human and as a business owner it’s definitely worth your efforts to give it a shot.


The following article (by Brandon Babcock) gives five steps to make good on a bad customer service experience.  It uses a simple  AEIOU vowel analogy.   Try it the next time you are faced with a difficult customer situation and let me know how it works for you!


Creating Value for Your Customers

by Lara Hobson on 05/06/15

Some companies create value by hiring excellent staff, working with quality vendors (sustainability initiatives and locally sourcing products/services), promotions/rewards programs and outstanding customer service. 


There is a very important cycle to understand regarding the creation of value to your customers (learn more at Value Proposition Design by Osterwalder, Pigneur, Bernarda, Smith, 10/2014, John Wiley and Sons).

At ServiceWorks, we create value for both customers and the business through service evaluations.  The business can learn how to improve based on unbiased feedback and the customers benefit by improved experience and engagement due to staff and management striving for continuous improvement. 

Sizzlin then Fizzlin

by Lara Hobson on 04/12/15

It’s Friday evening after a long week and you’re looking forward to a relaxing 
dinner.  You receive a warm welcome by the host and are then seated in a perfect spot.  Your server greets you promptly with friendly conversation and you’re on your way with a delicious appetizer and your favorite beverage.  While you’re deciding on your main course, the server suggests some tantalizing specials.  Your drinks are refilled and the attention to your table is impeccable!  The entrees arrive and your steak is prepared exactly to your specifications.  The server ask if he/she can get you anything else and then……..disappears.  There is no follow up to check on your meal for 10 minutes and by that time, you've decided that you really didn't need that steak sauce after all.  The dishes are in need of take home containers, your water glass is empty and you still haven’t seen your server.  Finally they appear with the check and then………..they disappear.  After flagging down another staff
member to investigate, your server magically appears with the check.  At this point you've decided that they really don’t care about you anymore and you’re ready to leave a feeble tip.  

Has this ‘fizzlin’ service happened to you?  I see it happening more often 
unfortunately.  There could be many reasons; under staffing, sudden rush of new customers, poor training, etc.  It doesn't set a good lasting impression of the 
establishment.  Mystery shoppers can alert business owners of these situations and prevent customers from leaving for good.   And worse, leaving negative comments on social media and telling their friends and family of the poor service.

Emotional Contagion

by Lara Hobson on 02/21/15

Have you heard of this term emotional contagion?  It’s simple, have you ever had someone’s bad mood put you in a bad mood?  Your answer was most likely a strong yes! We really can “catch” another person’s bad mood and this can spiral around the workplace. 

If you’re dealing with customers face-to-face or over the phone, it’s critical to extend a good mood on to them.  Make them smile and “catch” your good mood.

Studies show that employees who expressed positive emotions tended to have more satisfied customers.

Do something every day in your workplace to get your employees in a great mood.  Try a morning joke, inspirational quote, employee of the day, muffins in the morning, afternoon sing-a-long, theme day……create something unique to your organization.  Have fun and be contagious!

Should patients expect great customer service from their doctors?

by Lara Hobson on 12/29/14

Should patients expect great customer service from their doctors?


I was recently on the phone with my dermatologist office setting up an appointment.  I’ve been getting reminder postcards for the past 10 years and realized that I didn’t get one this fall to schedule my annual January appointment. 

Unfortunately since I called in mid-December at this point, the wait time would be 6 months for my preferred doctor.

This was very disappointing to me as the office was the one who forgot to send the reminder postcard and now I was going to have to wait an additional six months to get in.  No apology was offered and I was rushed through the process of scheduling my very extended appointment.


We sometimes take it for granted that our doctor’s office can get away with poor customer service.  This shouldn’t be the case, patients do have choices.   Patients want to be treated with respect and their time is valued.  I always thought that it was funny that a patient can get charged for the visit for cancelling within 24 hours but who gets charged when the physician cancels?


Hold your expectations high for your physician’s’ office.  You deserve personal attention, staff that listens to your needs, follow-up, interest in your feedback, expertise, and value of your time.  Great customer service should be found not just down the street at your local coffee shop but also at your doctor’s office.  You do have choices of where to take your healthcare needs.