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Does your customer service cost you anything?

Sooner or later you’re going to mess up. Everyone does. But what you do about your mistake is the thing that defines you both personally and professionally.

I had just walked off the stage and was talking to the association president about the event. He raved about how his group had loved my presentation and how they wanted to have me back to speak to them again soon.

Several other people shared similar comments as I gathered up my things and walked toward the door. Outside the meeting room, I stopped by the registration table to thank the association director and ask her how she felt the event went. After seeing the audience’s response and hearing the association president’s comments, I was surprised to hear her reply, “Yeah, it was fine.”Does Your Customer Service Cost You Anything? by Charles Marshall

I felt her response was out of sync with the other input I had received so I asked her if I had missed something. She sighed and said, “Well, if you want to know the truth, I didn’t like that we provided you with both a lavaliere and a hand-held microphone and you only used the one hand-held mic. Your agreement said that you wanted both, and the extra mic cost me more money.”

I apologized and told her that wasn’t the intent of the language in my contract and that I would make an effort to clarify that clause to avoid more confusion in the future. I said goodbye and got on the escalator heading down to the lobby. About halfway down I realized that I wasn’t at all satisfied with my answer so when I got to the bottom I turned around and headed back up.

When I got off the escalator I walked back up to the registration table and told the director I thought my reply to her stunk. She laughed and then I went on to explain that I had apologized but didn’t do anything to remedy the situation. I asked her to send me the receipt for the extra lavaliere mic and told her I would reimburse her for the extra expense.

If you’re not willing to back up your words with action—if the people you deal with on a daily basis don’t feel like you have their back, if your customer service ethic doesn’t involve sacrifice—then you might need to question whether your service is up to par.

Sometimes providing real customer service is going to hurt, and that’s okay. It’s how you know you’re on the right track. It’s how you know you are still being challenged.

Do you have a story about a time when you have had to sacrifice to make a customer happy? I’d love to hear it. Be sure to comment below and share your story to inspire others to step up!

© 2024 Charles Marshall. Charles Marshall is a nationally known humorous motivational speaker and author. Visit his Web site or contact him via e-mail at

4 Responses to Does your customer service cost you anything?

  1. Charles Marshall July 29, 2021 at 8:20 PM #

    A quick story on my own personal experience when I worked for a former employer….

    Our peak season was during the 4th quarter. We brought on 2 national accounts in November so we had thousands of extra orders to service in approximately 2 months This was on top of seasonal increase in demands by our regular customers. Duties were distributed but some critical employees’ performance fell short. Instead of having our new customers lose confidence in our ability, I worked a minimum of 15 hours per day – 7 days a week and many shifts 48 to 72 hours straight through to accomplish our objectives. Failure was not an option and my team and I made it happen. No one within my company fully understood the complexity and sacrifices it took. They just knew the tasks were completed. So customer service does cost you one way or another but more importantly, 1st impressions do too. You are only given “1” so make it count!
    Sherri Holcombe
    Director – Risk and Corporate Affairs
    Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce

    • Charles Marshall May 20, 2024 at 4:47 PM #

      Wow, Sherry! You sound like a customer service expert! I hope you are taking every opportunity to teach others what you know. The world could use more of what you have!

  2. Faith May 21, 2024 at 10:43 AM #

    Wow! That’s true humility!

    • Charles Marshall May 21, 2024 at 1:20 PM #

      Ha! I appreciate the vote of confidence! But I think it was more of a trying to make sure my customer was happy type of deal! 🙂

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