A Taste of My Own Medicine (Poor Customer Service) and 4 Ways to Cure It

What’s up fellow Frugal Samuraities!

Oh no, not you again!

Yes indeedy – you can’t get away from me even if you tried.

Not that you will – because let’s face it, TheFrugalSamurai rocks!

Self-congratulatory messages aside, I hope that wherever you are reading this – this blog can bring a little bit of light-heartedness to your life.

May it be a light to you in dark places when all other lights go out.

“Nods head solemnly”.

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Samwise Gamgee holding TheFrugalSamurai.

Tonight’s post is really more of a message to myself than anything, for it is on a topic which every one of us encounters – bad customer service.

Having worked in a client-facing role, I’ve been guilty many times of providing poor customer service throughout my career – and today was a good wake-up call for myself of being on the receiving end of that.

I’m still chewing the inside of my mouth at the taste it left, for a taste of your own medicine is pretty darn sour.

For context, I was at a boutique clothing store – a place where the finest cloth is made… via China.

Initially, I thought it was me – did I come off the wrong way? Am I intimidating? Do I smell? Am… am I … ugly?

What is it?

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I’ve been told I look like this guy, I think he is a famous priest.

Then it hit me like a really, really ugly face in the mirror, it’s the four classic cases of poor customer service.

I know so because I’ve exhibited these traits myself:


The easiest and seemingly hardest thing for many of us to do when we meet strangers is to smile at them. Surely you remember the 9 staring back at you through the bus window?

What did you do?

“Looks away”.

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Come on – we’ve all done it.

The proper thing to do would have been to acknowledge that stare, smile and radiate that warmth – we all have it in us.

You would have made two people happy that day.

But what if the customer is not a 9? What if they are a wannabe personal finance blogger with allusions of value-based Japanese warriors?

Nine or not, a smile is halfway there when it comes to providing good customer service.


Surely this one is pretty self-explanatory.

“Yoda voice on” communicate we must hmmm yes “Yoda voice off”.

Just saying – it’s pretty hard to provide any level of service without properly communicating to the customer.

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Always communicate with the customer first before taking action.

Good communication:

Hello, how may I help you?

Might I make a suggestion?

Oh yes, this one suits you nicely.

Let me just check on that if you don’t mind waiting.

Poor communication:

You’re face is really really ugly.

We have another appointment soon so…

…… (silence)

After smiling, surely communication is next in providing good customer service 101.

Transaction versus Relationship.

The successful businesses have this one down pat – they’ve sussed out the differentiation between a transactional and relationship based business model.

A transactional based model is built on volume, the more volume there is – the better it is. It’s all about the here and now.

Where’s the next transaction going to come from? Churn, churn, churn. Fast food is a good example of this.

Fry that chicken! Box that chicken! Sell that chicken! NEXT!

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At 1am, I suddenly have a craving for fried chicken…

The relationship based model is built on the existing client base and forged through sustainable development.

Let’s think long-term.

Come back to us again next time, we’ve got you covered.

Might you refer us to family and friends?

Hey, maybe a boutique clothing store is a good example here…


Good customer service may be provided before you hand over your credit card or sign on that dotted line.

But excellent customer service goes beyond to the post-purchase follow-up.

I find a lot of the smiles and communication stops once the transaction’s done.

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“Ha ha thanks for buying … ahh fwack off already.”

How often do you hear back from a store after you have purchased a good or service?

Personally, it’s quite rare.

Just saying, would be nice to hear from the store after the dust settles.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of companies do provide post-purchase services – and those are the ones we remember fondly, as do our wallets.

That’s it guys! 4 quick, short insights on customer service, there’s a whole lot more out there of course – let me know which ones are important to you by commenting below!

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