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Customer service 101

April 21, 2011
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When I returned to my hotel room in a large American city recently, something seemed wrong. I just had that queasy feeling. A quick inventory of my personal belongings revealed that my laptop computer was still there, as was my expensive camera. But $10 worth of cheap, air travel-compliant shaving supplies were mysteriously missing.

I shared this sad story at check-out with the earnest young man at the registration desk, and he seemed concerned but was entirely not helpful. “That’s really strange,” he said. “I’ll check on it.” Since I was leaving town that minute to return to my home in another state, this wasn’t the sort of action I was seeking.

So when I received an email survey of my experience, I jumped at the opportunity to tell the tale again. This time it fell on more sympathetic ears. “I personally apologize for the lack of follow-up from our front desk team, and I have credited $15 back to your credit card.” Finally, somebody named Dustin was taking personal responsibility—and action.

Next time I’m invited to deliver my famous customer service seminar to long-term care staff, I’m going to use this example. “If someone has a concern,” I’ll tell my spellbound audience, “don’t just make a vague promise to ‘check on it.’ Fix it. Right then.”


Which raises the question, Why am I never invited to deliver my famous customer service seminar to long-term care staff? I have no idea. But I’m checking on it.

Gary Tetz

Gary Tetz is a long-term care commentator based in Walla Walla, Washington, and is a columnist...