Want Great Customer Service? Don’t Pay Peanuts

This is a guest blog from Bron McClain, the Customer Service Queen.

It’s a saying that’s been trotted out since year dot, but, like all things that stand the test of time – Chanel No 5, the Beatles, old-fashioned courtesy – it’s still used today because it’s good.

“If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

This is never more evident than when it comes to the level of customer service your company offers. Because there is no way that the quality of your customer service can exceed the quality of the people who provide it.

Paying lower wages, by employing less experienced, less qualified staff, can make economic sense if you feel you can pass on the savings to your customers. And we all know that customers aren’t shy about shopping around for price comparisons.

But it is a short-term solution that brings long-term pain. When your customers purchase a product or service from your company, you want them to come back time and time again. And bring their friends.

It makes sense that if they’re receiving poor quality service from your company, there’s no incentive to return. And even less incentive to recommend you. 

Once, I bought a pair of heels and loved them so much, I wore them out of the shop. I’d not gone more than a dozen steps when one of the heels snapped clean off. I was horrified, and limped back to the store, clutching the offending heel. The sales attendant apologised profusely, made me comfortable, immediately replaced my shoes and offered me 50% off my next purchase.

Unbelievable customer service!

That night, I met up with a few friends for dinner. They commented on my shoes and I regaled the story of the broken heel and the excellent customer service and told them all to shop there for their next pair of heels.

So even though this is a store that sells shoes that break, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. That’s because of its excellent customer service. It is not possible for me to receive such high level service unless the staff member is qualified, highly trained and empowered by the company.

And he wouldn’t be getting paid peanuts. His company has recognised the necessity of switched-on, enthusiastic, aware front-line staff and have made it a priority to only employ the best and commensurately pay them.

You see, companies don’t help customers. People do.


Bron McClain is a writer, speaker, trainer and marketer. She is leading a customer care crusade, showing business how to embrace their customers with integrity, kindness, respect and dignity, to make their business more profitable. See more at www.customerservicequeen.com.au

© Bron McClain, The Customer Service Queen 2011

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