bad customer service knows no timeline

Dale Carnegie – Great Customer Service isn’t a New Idea, But it is a Good One

In 1936, orator and author Dale Carnegie wrote “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I’d say this book is more relevant today than it was between World Wars. Listening, caring, engaging…these are not new concepts that came in with customer relations, sCRM, CRM, customer service, or social media. Below are Carnegie’s Six Ways to Make People Like You. Sound familiar?

Rule 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.
Rule 2: Smile.
Rule 3: Remember that a person’s name is, to him or her, the sweetest and most important sound in the world.
Rule 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Rule 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
Rule 6: Make the other person feel important—
and do it sincerely.

Connecting with your customers on a human-level isn’t new. Though many modern leaders in customer service and engagement have their own take or angle, they’re not presenting too many new ideas. That’s not a bad thing. These ideas should be repeated, reimagined and remolded because, obviously, they haven’t been generally accepted…or we wouldn’t be talking so much about bad customer service. What’s that they say about common sense not being common?

People like to know they’re being listened to, understood and focused on. It’s as true today as it was in 1936 and, I’m sure, there was some caveman who wished the stone wheel salesman would have cared about his concerns (I was a Flintstones fan).

Don’t let hundreds…nay, thousands of years of bad service conditioning stop you from becoming an example of how great customer service is done. Dale Carnegie’s chapter, “Six Ways to Make People Like You” is a great place to start.


  • Michele Price

    Yes, I know all too well that common sense is not common which is why I created #SMmanners and now co-host it to be able to do more in our community.

    Funny thing is we are all human, we all know what it feel slike to receive bad customer service as well what it feels like to be yelled at by unreasonable customers. As long as customer service is the piece of the business pie that hires the lower end of the wage scale they will continue to receive average results.

    That makes me wonder who will pay more for cust serv positions to attract higher caliber people? That will lead the way for change.

    • Michele, thanks for the comment and I apologize for the inexcusable delay in response.
      Love the idea of a #SMmanners chat. I hope it’s not just those that “get it” that participate but also those that could learn a thing or two.
      I have to disagree with the claim that paying people more will inspire better staff customer service. You can’t pay or teach someone’s interest or initiative. They are either good employees or they aren’t.

  • Jonathan Barrick

    Great post – It’s become far too easy for customers to evaluate a company on every stage in their experience with them, and then compare the experience to that provided by competitors. Customer service is one of the major areas that no company can now afford to just be ‘ok’ at. You need to provide exceptional customer service, each and every time.

    If your customer service experience is not exceptional, then word of your mediocrity will spread far and wide, very quickly.

    • Adrian Charlie

      Perhaps that’s true for small business, but I have received consistently poor customer service from companies such as Best Buy and Futureshop. I have stopped going to BB altogether, FS is soon to follow. A few months back at Best Buy the customer service workers (aged 16-21?) were insulting a bunch of “Call of Duty geeks.” I was trading in a game so I could get store credit. It didn’t dawn on them that the guy trading in a video game could also be a “Call of Duty geek.” Insulting customers around other customers is unacceptable. Poor customer service at BB and FS are well-known yet both companies are thriving from what I can see.

      • I’ve heard a flight attendant insulting passengers…um, that little curtain isn’t soundproof! We can hear you! And yeah, we all know that guy is being a pr*ck, but save the complaining for the post-work drink chat!

        (One more thing, when a customer says “thank you”…the response is “you’re welcome!”..not “yep”.)

        • Employees have to blow off steam. We all get that. But I couldn’t agree with you more that when you are at work, you’re working. Keep comments off the clock.
          It’s amazing how often it’s forgotten that those “Call of Duty geeks” or airplane passengers are the reason those complaining staff have jobs.

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