Customer Service: Don’t Let a Bad Day Get in the Way of Good Business

Note:  The names and places have been change to protect the innocent and the guilty.

I was talking to a friend recently about this and that, current events and past memories, and he told me an interesting story about an employer he had as a kid.  This particular employer, we’ll call him George, owned a small grocery store a little ways outside of town. 

George wanted to expand his business by putting up a bigger building in town.  He didn’t want to use up all of his savings, so like a smart business manager, he went to the local bank to get a loan. 

The banker, Jim, had been through a rough day and was in a foul mood.  When George walked in and asked for the loan, Jim the banker leaned back in his chair making it squeak as strain on the springs grew. 

Jim cocked his head, put his hands on his hips, and narrowed his eyes. “Now, what would you say if I told you I wasn’t going to give it to you?”  Jim asked, his arrogant superiority complex coloring his tone. 

George was baffled and anger flashed through him.  He was a well respected businessman with a successful business already established and a great credit score.  He was not a credit risk. George calmly rose from his chair and told that banker, “If you don’t want my money, then I’ll take it elsewhere.” 

And he did. 

It wasn’t until twenty years later, after the banker died and the board of trustees of the local bank made him bank president, that George took his business back to that bank.  In that twenty year lapse, George undermined the bank’s business as often as he could.  He knew everybody in town and so he felt comfortable enough to cash people’s checks for them while telling his unfortunate tale of loan denial.

George’s story is one that happens repeatedly everywhere every day.  Businesses push great customers away simply because the employee or the manager  is so focused on their own bad day that they don’t pay attention to what they are doing to their current and potential customers. 

So, what’s the moral of the customer service story? 

Don’t let a bad day get in the way of good business.

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