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Listen for the Right Words to Measure Customer Service

You can tell a lot about a company and its commitment to customers in the words employees use. Open your ears and you will find it’s easier to measure customer service levels than you might think.

I enjoy high-end music systems in my home and office.

One day I called the dealer to order extra CD cartridges, wanting to pre-load them with different music. He was out of stock, but said more were coming soon.

“Great,” I replied, “Could you give me a call as soon as they come in?”

He was reluctant. “They’ll be coming in a few weeks. Why don’t you call us back then?”

With my travel schedule, I imagined missing the next shipment and asked again if he would call me. I reminded him that I had purchased $7,000 of equipment from his shop.

When I mentioned my address, he replied, “I remember you. Well, as a personal favor, I’ll try to give you a call, but we don’t usually do this for customers.”

I was stunned. If not for customers, who do they do it for? The measure of customer service or lack thereof was clear in his words.

Key learning point to measure customer service

Quick outbursts from employees often reveal the real mindset lurking behind a surface smile. Have you ever heard someone say:

We can’t do that for you. It’s not our policy. I’d like to help you, but it’s not my department. You have to speak to someone else.

Remember, serving customers is why you go to work. If your customers disappear, your positive future may vanish, too. Open your ears to measure customer service before your customers do it for you!

Action steps to measure customer service

Measure customer service by listening for phrases that reveal a mindset of “I just can’t be bothered.” Identify them, then eliminate them.

When you shop, keep your ears well tuned. If they don’t truly want to serve you well, take your precious business somewhere else.

Read more articles from Ron Kaufman

Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “UP! Your Service” books and founder of UP! Your Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

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