So You Think You Give Great Service?



If we polled 100 business professionals, I bet over 95% would say they give their clients great customer service. But are we really as good as we think we are?

What prompted this post was a bad experience I had recently with a local printing company. I had used them before and worked directly with the owner, so I felt there would be no problems. Unfortunately, after receiving poor service I had to take my business elsewhere. This could have easily been avoided with just a little effort.


I was never asked questions up front regarding what I wanted in terms of service.  In my mind, how can you meet and exceed someone’s expectations if you don’t define them upfront?

To make matters worse, when I told the owner I was unhappy, he was shocked and a little defensive.  In his mind he was giving me great service and even told me as much. There was obviously a huge disconnect between what he thought I wanted and what was actually going to make me happy.

He confused giving me a great price as giving me great service, which was not the case. It just so happens that my project was very time-sensitive and speed was more important than price to me. The failure to recognize this caused the printer to lose my business.


During the time we worked together, I noticed that the printer made many mistakes that business people make every day. He:

1. Failed to ask me up front what was important to me.

2. Told me that he was swamped every time I spoke with him – making me feel that my business wasn’t important.

3. Didn’t communicate with me proactively, making me call him for a status.

4. Didn’t offer to correct the problem.

5. Failed to recognize he gave me a bad experience.


In our real estate business, we ask our clients a lot of questions up front regarding their expectations.  Our belief is that if you don’t know specifically what will make a client happy, how in the world can you properly service them.

Plus, every client is different. Some want constant communication, while others don’t want to be bothered unless it’s an emergency. Many people prefer to communicate by email or text, but some still like the personal aspect of a phone call or face to face meeting. Everyone has a different definition of “great service”, so without asking what they want, you’ll have a tough time giving them a truly memorable experience.

When it comes to customer service, asking the right questions and communicating effectively are the keys to success.  The ability to do these things well will make a huge difference to your bottom line.


About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, or

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

So you think you give great service? is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©January,2012

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