In my head, I’m always bitching about bad service. Maybe a cashier didn’t say thank you when she finished ringing me up or the guy at the drive-through forgot to give me a straw, or — my personal favorite! — the person behind the counter didn’t even bother to get off their cellphone while they were helping me with my transaction. I’m a HUGE believer in good customer service and feel strongly that it can literally make or break a business.
Through no skill of my own, but rather through my job, I’ve been lucky enough to have been hosted at some pretty swanky hotels, restaurants, spas, and even on a private jet once, and as such, have been treated to some examples of personal service and attention like you can’t believe. But is there a point at which good service turns bad? My brother Jon — who just happens to be the smartest guy I know — thinks so.
My brother and his wife were dining at a semi-posh Atlanta restaurant recently and they could barely take a sip of their wine without a waiter refilling it or could hardly start a new sentence without someone popping by to ask how they were doing. As a couple with two small children (as precious as they may be), they look forward to an evening out as a way to escape all the chatter and chaos and want nothing more than to be able to sit back and relax for a while. But apparently this dinner was anything but relaxing. “I hate good service!” my brother told me afterward.
There does seem to be a fine line between good service and service that’s just a little too good. But I’d rather have annoyingly good service versus annoyingly bad service any day!
Which reminds of an incident last week, went I went to the AT&T store to buy my new iPhone. The woman helping me was knowledgeable and helpful and everything was going along perfectly well until we were wrapping up the transaction and she let me know that someone might be calling me and asking me about how I was treated that day. At this point, she looked me straight in the eye, reminded me of her name, and said, “Be sure and give me a 5. A 5 is what I need. A 5 will give me a great rating. Remember, when they call you, to give me a 5.” Not “Please give me a 5” or “I’d be flattered if you gave me a 5,” but rather a “Give me a 5 or else!” I wanted to say something back to her like, “Don’t push it, beeaatttcch!” but I just smiled and walked out the door. She should know, though, that when AT&T does come calling, I’ll be making up my own damn mind about what score to give her, and it certainly won’t be a 5. I guess good customers can sometimes go bad, too!