don't fake customer service, it's bad

Don’t Fake Sincerity, He Asked Sincerely

There’s the old line, “if you can’t be sincere, fake it.” Pretty please don’t. Customers can tell.

I recently went to a Shoppers Drug Mart to buy some stationary. Once at the till, the cashier did all the usual things wrong: no eye contact, no smile, lack of interest. I was going to chalk it up to another bad customer service experience when she threw in her secret weapon. Right at the end, her expression did a 180. She looked at me, held my gaze, smiled and wished me a happy day.

Dr. Jekyll meet Mr. Hyde? Maybe.

My concern is she was trained to do that at the end of every sale. Which is all well and good if the first 5 minutes hadn’t been so blah. Did she think I’d forgotten about that part? “I know you don’t care I’m here but you loved me so much at the end that I’ve dismissed the bad bits and left with a sense of support and appreciation.”

Nope. Sorry. Not how it works.

Show your sincerity. Be genuine. Embrace being in the moment and the impacts of your actions.

The customer experience isn’t summed up in the last 10 seconds. It’s the “hi” to the “good-bye” and everything in between. Work on that.


  • Indeed, it is like “How are you today?” – if you don’t care, don’t ask! When I am chatting with customers, I try to take a genuine interest in their lives at that moment. This sometimes leads to mutual high-fiving or even hugs…



    • Thanks for the comment Scott,
      As a business you should care about your customers. They have taken the time to check out your business and want to give their money to you. That’s a good reason for business to take an interest in them.

  • Hi Russel,
    Your short story very clearly illustrates insincerity and ALSO lack of service! You did not receive any customer service. It’s just that simple. You and the procedural robot completed a transaction. A self-checkout kiosk could have done the same thing for you.
    What continues to surprise me in this horrible economy is that with so many people out of work, employers have not replaced the types of employees you describe above with some who are capable of deliver great service.

    As some read this, they will comment about lack of training, lack of leadership commitment to customer service, and other constraints. There is truth in it. Yet a single act of sincere caring can trump all those constraints.

    Here are two posts to expand this:
    ACE Every Customer Service Moment with 3 Three Steps

    Kindness Transcends Constraints
    I like your post. It is a great reminder and call to action. I will RT it on Twitter.

    Best wishes,
    Kate Nasser (The People-Skills Coach)

    • Kate,
      Thanks for the blog share and your great comment.
      As much as we speak about empowering and improving customer service, it will never get very far without the right staff and the initiative to care. It’s as important to hire the right people as it is to have the right controls when their working.
      Loved your “procedural robot” remark. Very true but so very sad.

  • Patrick Tussie

    Nice post, you have put into words what always crosses my mind at my local Fairway Market. Some cashiers do not acknowledge my presence until I’m picking up my bags and walking away. No greeting, no eye contact, swipe items through, “That will be $34.15” I pick up my bags “Have a nice day!” Oh, so I do exist??

    • For whatever reason, bad service staff don’t understand that you are the reason they have a job. Coming to your store + Spending my money = you getting a paycheque. We really should work on improving math skills in our schools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *