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Some Kidding Aside – What your customer is thinking but won’t tell you

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When I arrived, it turned out that there was a huge disconnect between the car size that I had reserved on their website and the car that the rental location actually had for me. It was important that I get a larger car because I had my family with me, and the only cars that the rental car company had available were smaller models.

By the way, since I’m about to say some bad stuff about this particular company, I don’t feel comfortable mentioning their name, so let’s just say the name of the company was Schmudget Rental Car. There. That’s obscure enough. No one will ever crack my code and figure out who I really mean.

In response to my problem, the customer service rep at this Schmudget Rental Car location opted for the I’m-Just-Working-Here-Until-My-Band-Gets-A-Record-Deal customer service method. It did not inspire great confidence in me.

Two hours after I arrived, I was still at the same location trying to get the right size car, and my patience was wearing thin. When I suggested to Beavis that maybe this matter is important to him since I am the reason he has a job, he made the incredible statement, “the customer doesn’t pay my paycheck. The company does.”

 Wow. If you don’t see the complete inanity of this remark, then you might also be occupying the same strange universe as Beavis: a strange world where money mysteriously appears in the company bank account and then is distributed to employees who seem determined to destroy the company from within.

After a great while, I finally got the vehicle I had reserved and I was once again on my way, no thanks to my Rock-N-Roll-Wanna-Be friend.

I couldn’t begin to imagine that the manager of that rental location knew his employees were dispensing this type of:

     A] Customer non-service, and

     B] Fairy-Tale notions about where money comes from.

 So, I called their regional office and related the story to their manager who didn’t sound happy to hear from me.

Handy Customer Service Tip #213:

If, per chance, an unhappy customer complains to you about your company’s product or service, get down on your knees and thank them profusely. Whether you know it or not, they are doing you a huge favor. For every customer who actually speaks up and tells you what he is thinking, there are hundreds who will walk out the door and keep their own counsel.

And I don’t mean to pick on poor Schmudget Rental Car. I’ve rented from them scores of times and have been perfectly satisfied with the experience.

My point in relating this particular situation is that if a customer is standing in front of you, you must tacitly concede that they are the reason that you have a job. They are the ones that allow you to provide food, shelter, transportation and healthcare for your family. They are the ones that allow you to go on vacation, go out to eat, or do whatever it is that really flips your switch.

In short, the customer is your boss and should be treated with all the deference, respect, and loyalty that is due to the person handing you your paycheck.

In a struggling economy, this one principle might be all that stands between a prosperous business and one that is forced to close up shop.

Feel free to reprint this article in your organizational publication.  We only ask that you use the following attribution blurb at the bottom of the article:

 © 2013 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site at  or contact him via e-mail at  


One Response to Some Kidding Aside – What your customer is thinking but won’t tell you

  1. Mike April 2, 2014 at 4:02 PM #

    I agree – the customer is king and your job depends on keeping them happy.
    On the other hand, our small company has two awesome CSRs that have bent over backwards for certain customers who have complaints, and no matter what, the customer simply won’t be happy. We understand that (payroll) money from a jerk is the same color as money from a satisfied customer, but there does come a time when a CSR has to say “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you anymore.” Sometimes it actually IS better that your competitor gets your customer…if the customer has a particularly bad demeanor. Abuse should not be allowed within the office in any way, shape, or form.

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