Customer Service Faults And Delays. Who Is To Blame?

Often when there is a defect in the delivery of service, be it World Class or not, there can be a breakdown in processes that leads to the customer having a less than expected experience.

Who is to blame in these situations?

When things do not go to plan, is the customer always right?

Sometimes what we see on the surface is often an illusion or a ghost that smothers or overshadows the true events….


Example 1.

It’s often easy to look at situations where the customer is kept waiting as part of their experience and place the blame immediately on the business with them being at fault.

But there could be several reasons for the lack of service.

Is there insufficient staff working?

The customer could be being kept waiting because insufficient numbers of staff were allocated to work this shift, or the delays could be because a significant number of staff called in sick this day and the business was left shorthanded through no real fault of its own?

Is there insufficient trained staff working?

Are the staff who are working educated and trained in the appropriate skills to work out what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, in advance, rather than in a reactionary manner?

The ability of good staff to be pre-emptive of certain situations that could occur and be also placed in a position of authority to respond confidently in those situations without having to seek approval from above is paramount.

Do we know the personal situations of all involved in the business?

There could be some personal tragedy within the business that has caused someone to be absent, or someone to be working at a level below their best…. Who is to really know?

I remember years ago working one Monday morning and running late because a toothache patient that I had added into my schedule had turned into a full-blown surgical extraction project that then started to take more time than had been allocated.

As a result of this surgical procedure, I had begun to run behind in my schedule.

As I sweated over the removal of this offending piece of tooth structure, one of my regular patients who had been waiting patiently simply stood up and walked out of my office front door.

When I called him later in the morning to ask what had happened, he simply said this:

“How dare you keep me waiting there while you’re sitting out the back watching the golf”

It seems that he believed that the golf screening on the TV set in the client lounge was also being piped into some private sanctuary back stage where he envisaged I was domiciled with my feet up and a glass of champagne.

And no amount of explaining was ever going to convince this poor chap of any difference.

He’d gotten a bee in his bonnet that because the golf was on the TV in the room where he was and he was seeing, and that I was nowhere to be seen and that he had been kept waiting, then that I must have been inside watching the golf.

And no amount of truth or explanation was going to convince him otherwise.

Where did we fall down?

Well obviously, a failure to communicate the reasons for my delay to this chap went a long way towards him building a belief of an incorrect scenario to be occurring.

And had someone in my office taken the time and effort to go and speak with this chap and explain the situation, then maybe he may have been more understanding of the circumstances.

And I know that I myself as the owner should have been one of those people who should have personally passed on an apology for the delay to this patient.

What’s the lesson?

Everybody’s time is valuable.

And everybody deserves to have their time respected, without assumption.

So if you find yourself in business dealings being taken for granted or actually taking people for granted, then you need to be able to step back, take five, and say:

“Is this the best use of everybody’s time?”

And if it isn’t, then say:

“How can I make things better? For everyone.”


My next public speaking presentation showing Dentists how to grow their Dental practices will be in London England on Saturday 4 August 2018 with Jayne Bandy.

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