The Morality of Customer Service

By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO

The Sunday before Memorial Day my wife and I packed up our tricycles and went to ride the Fox River Trail in Green Bay.  It was a beautiful day for riding.  We found a new spot in the shade to park along the trail and reassembled our foldable trikes.  As we rode along we saw an ice cream sign cone promising a treat if we detoured from the trail.  Our plan was to ride and find Zesty’s ice cream after we turned around on the trail.

We did turn around after 10 miles or so and were looking forward to the treat.  We detoured off the trail and went up a gravel road to park under a tree.  We walked the rest of the way up the hill only to find that Zesty’s was closed until 3PM.  It was 2PM and we weren’t going to wait an hour for their ice cream. As a business owner, I think Zesty’s is missing out on traffic from the trail and general customers by opening so late.

Fortunately, there was an A&W attached to a gas station that was open.  We trudged over the parking lot in our biking shoes to get two root beer floats.  When we entered I could not help but notice that the place seemed a little dark and not particularly clean.  There were several people in front of us as we waited to order. The young man taking orders gave no word of greeting, only taking orders and asking whether to eat inside or to go.  He asked a question of a co-worker and got a surly “how should I know” as a response.  I guess it really is hard to soar like an eagle when you are working with a bunch of turkeys.

As the orders were slowly fulfilled the customers received their food without comment.  One gentleman came in after us and received his order before us.  I commented on this occurrence with my wife and shortly thereafter we received our order.  I think the young man was surprised when I thanked him for our floats.  We couldn’t wait to get out of there to return to our trikes.  This was not a great customer experience.

Great Customer Service

Providing great customer service involves giving more than expected.  Never under deliver when working on a job.

I saw another example of how not to provide customer service when I viewed the 1st episode of Doc Martin, a classic British comedy.  The doctor enters his new practice only to find that his medical equipment is in bad shape.  The faucet spews red rust when opened.  At the suggestion of his aunt, he hires two inept plumbers to fix the faucet.  The banter in the show is great, but in the end the building becomes flooded.  It is the last of several straws for Doc who almost gives up the practice.

As a counterpoint, I always try to give more to my customers.  Technical advice is always free.  If an immediate solution is not immediately found, I provide a ‘work around’ until the problem can be fixed.

Do No Harm

Like a doctor, a computer technician should always try to leave the customer better off.  Their old slow computer can be fixed and upgraded so it is better than before.  Leaving the customer with a broken computer is not good service.

A little bit of training on how to use their computer more efficiently always helps the customer experience.

Failure is Possible

Despite our best efforts, failure is always a possibility.  If I make a mistake, I take responsibility for my actions that led to the failure.  Then I work hard to make sure I fix the problem in a timely manner.  If necessary, I offer the customer a loaner computer until their computer can be fixed.


Keeping the customer informed is crucial to good customer service.  Let the customer know the progress you are making and do it on their terms.  If they like texts instead of email or phone calls use the method of communication that works best for them.

The Golden Rule

While the golden rule is the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated, I say that you treat your customers better.  Good customers are hard to find.  Make every effort to keep them.