Which customer service example are you?


When I was a kid, I loved Highlights Magazine.  My favorite feature was Goofus and Gallant.

If you're over 30, you remember that it was a side by side comparison of two boys and their behavior.  So it might say….

Goofus gets up from the dinner table and goes into his room to listen to the radio.  Gallant helps his mom clear the table before pursuing his hobbies.  (remember, I was a kid a long, long time ago). 

I had my own grown-up Goofus and Gallant experience this week.

Goofus:  As part of a mystery shopping exercise for our regional bank client, I went into a local bank (not our client's) to open a checking account.  I was in business attire, it was the middle of the afternoon and there were no other customers in the bank.  I walked in and looked around for a brochure rack, so I could figure out what checking account to open.  I'd been in the lobby a good 3-4 minutes before one of the bankers said hello.

I approached her and said I wanted to open a checking account.  She handed me a form on a clipboard (like the doctor's office does) and told me to fill it out. (I was told to sit in the lobby)  When I was done, I brought it back and she led me into her office.  We spent the next 10-15 minutes with the printer popping out forms and me signing docs.  During that time, she did not:

  • Ask my name
  • Introduce herself
  • Give me her business card
  • Tell me about the other features of the bank
  • Ask about my other banking needs
  • Get my e-mail address so they could stay in touch
  • Appear to give a rat's rear end about me, my business, my family or my finances

She did however, mention how much she hates the cold weather and was tired.

On the flip side of the coin…..

Gallant:    I am volunteering for a local charity telethon in a couple weeks.   I should have ordered the team t-shirts weeks ago but of course, I hadn't.  The team I'm leading always wants screaming bright t-shirts, so I did a Google search and found CustomInk.  I went to their site…found some vivid purple shirts, uploaded the charity's logo (paid for rush shipping because I am a moron for waiting so long) and voila, my order was done.

I got a call in the morning (of course, I ordered the shirts in the middle of the night) from one of their production artists, asking if we had the logo in a different format because they thought it would reproduce better.  If not, they'd try to re-create it for us.  (At no charge)  I sent him the new format and thought we were all set.

Then, later that same day, I receive an e-mail from a one of their customer service folks (Laney) who says…"it looks like you have designed shirts for a charity event.  If that's the case, CustomInk would love to make a small donation to your team or charity on your behalf." 

Holy cow.  I spent less than $200 on shirts and they want to make a donation?  I sent her an e-mail to say thank you and shared the link so she could read about the telethon.  Next thing I know…Laney's picked up the phone, spoken to one of the charity's employees and made a $20 donation.  The e-mail telling me she'd done that…referenced the charity staff by name and was a bit apologetic that they could only donate $20.  And, she shared with me a program where they'll take fifty cents off each shirt, if they can put their logo on the back of the shirt as a sponsor for any future orders we might have.


If I had said to you…which business could profit more from me, over time, you'd guess the bank, true?  If we'd guess who received more on the job training, odds are we'd guess the bank employee.  If we wondered which business should be more prone to great customer service — the local bank or the online t-shirt shop, I'm guessing we'd have said the bank.

Guess which business just got a raving fan and who is going to make a lot of money from me over time?

I wouldn't guess the bank, would you?

If you had to guess how a brand new customer would be treated by your staff — would you think they're a Goofus or a Gallant?  Are you sure?

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6 comments on “Which customer service example are you?

  1. Annie Tsai says:

    Drew, Hit a nerve indeed.

    Thank you for this post.

    Absolutely – which business will profit more – both long term and short term? There is so much opportunity to leverage the support organization for more than just solving the problem at hand.

    – Opportunity to enhance the relationship stickiness
    – Opportunity to upsell
    – Opportunity to make their day
    – Opportunity to gather response data
    – Opportunity to understand your customer a little bit more so you can be smarter next time

    I’m sure I’m missing something, but this is an excellent conversation to have.

    Annie Tsai
    annie dot tsai at premiereglobal dot com

  2. What a great example! I’d forgotten about Goofus and Gallant. I love the analogies you created. Businesses should be very aware how their customer service is turning customers on or off!

  3. Scott says:

    While I can’t say I remember Goofus and Gallant (I did love highlights though) I think this is a great example of how important customer service is.

    Sidenote: I’ve used custom ink a couple of times and have always been wowed by the way I was treated. It’s like I’m their only customer or something — hence why I keep going back 🙂

  4. Great post, entertaining. A little good karma shared today is profitable relationship tomorrow

  5. Nicely said. I always try to explain to clients that if you have a bad experience, you’ll tell 20 people about it. If you have a good experience, you’ll tell 2. If you have a GREAT experience, you’ll tell everyone you know! I just wish we could control the human emotions of employees and representatives a little more. Sometimes, they are just having a bad day. I feel sorry for any potential customers that meet them on that day.

  6. hampers says:

    An easy answer for question obviously being created by a bad customer service. Truly, good word-of-mouth advertisement starts by experiencing good customer service. We should emulate the shirt-printing business staffs for their effort to gaining repeat customers.

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