I once had a question to ask of a website that I had an account with. Actually, it was for some money I was owed, earnings of a sort. I had looked all over the website and couldn't find a phone number or an email address. When I finally found it by going to the search engine and looking up that specific phrase, I wrote the company asking them where my award was.

good customer service
good hotel customer service

It took them 3 weeks to respond to an email, which I waited for because I felt it was substantial enough, and had actually written twice more. Eventually I did get the money I had won, but I left the site and never went back because, in my eyes, their credibility was gone.

This type of thing happens to me often, and I know it happens to you as well. Businesses work with us, either as us being their customers or, in my case, trying to work with them in some way. People often promise that they'll get back to me "later in the day", sometimes "tomorrow", but more than 75% of the time I never hear from them again. It's gotten to the point where, after so many years, I take the cynics route, believing that I probably won't hear back from anyone and if I do, I'll be the first one surprised by it.

I often say that the customer may not always be right, but they're always the customer. When the customer isn't treated well, the customer tells more people than when the customer is satisfied.

Normally the consternation is against larger companies, where the overall leadership is so removed from the people actually doing the daily work that they've forgotten how the company started growing in the first place and that's a shame. Because there's a dearth of good leadership, what happens is the perceived leaders don't keep up with how their consumers are being treated. When business starts going bad, they look at everything except their customer service initiatives.

I have separate email addresses for business and personal purposes. I go through any email that comes to my business addresses as soon as I can. I respond to anything that's not a sales letter that I might not be interested in that doesn't have my name on it. If it comes directly to me, with my actual name on it, I respond; I feel it's the courteous thing to do.

I'm not quite that nice when it comes to phone calls, but I will return some here and there. But if I tell someone I'm going to call them back, I always call them back. If I tell them I'll call them by a certain time I always call them back by that time, even if I've learned nothing new.

Recently I've had some issues that are irking me to no end. People who've initiated contact with me whose calls I've returned haven't gotten back to me. More than half the phone calls I've made that concern some type of business that I need information from haven't returned my calls unless I've gone around them. Other businesses that should be calling me and telling me what's going on without my prompting have fallen short of proper customer service initiatives.
It's gotten so bad that I've had to do this video:


To me, getting back to others or exhibiting great customer service initiatives is just good business sense and common courtesy. How we treat others tells others how we want to be treated, but it also shows people how professional you are. I don't buy the "that's just how business goes" line; if that's how business goes then it's a sad commentary on business and professionalism.

True leaders make sure that customer service is always at the top of the list of their employee initiatives. When things go wrong, good customer service can overcome almost anything. Good customer service leads people to give you a second chance if you didn't get it totally right the first time. Always remember that, no matter what you do.