The first point of contact is acknowledgement

No. #2 of the Top Five Things Businesses Should Do to Piss Off Their Customers


Effort goes a long way. Customers are very, very patient and understanding if they feel like they’re shown some respect and recognition. How best to do that? Staff needs to make sure they show their customers that they know they are there.

Even if you are busy, on the phone or with another customer, to just make that moment of eye contact and a gesture speaks volumes. A simple nod can say, “I see you. You can see I’m busy but I will be with you as soon as I can.”

I have been in a local cell phone store and waited 10-12 minutes without a single hello. The store was empty and they knew I was there (it’s not that big of a store) and still nothing. I started looking at things I didn’t even want just to see how long it would take for a “hi.” I finally left.

Will that experience stay with me? It was months ago and I’ve told everyone in earshot.

I’m actually tempted to bring a stopwatch with me around town just to see how long it takes to be acknowledged. Is your business a pass or fail?

When it comes to customer service, some effort is always better than no effort…but set your goals higher.

Go back in time: Number THREE, Number FOUR, Number FIVE


  • Maggie Kerr-Southin

    I’m enjoying your countdown, Russel. These things all seem so simple, don’t they? Yet, people continue to commit them. Very successful at the piss off.

    • Glad you’re liking the countdown Maggie. It’s like the say, “common sense isn’t that common.” I think the principles of customer engagement also follow that principle. No. #1 is an oldie but a goodie and, for those of us actively using social media and consulting for others, certainly one that bears repeating.
      Any you would add?

  • Hey, Russel

    New to the site, but I’ve been reading these for a few days now. Some fantastic points in here that should be required reading to every retail & service location here in Victoria.

    My question is: where are the managers during all of this? As a manager, I’m constantly watching and evaluating my staff when they interact with the public (i.e., the clients or potential clients). I have a background (like you, it seems) in the Service industry, and if you don’t learn how to read your clients, you aren’t in business long!

    Keep up the excellent work!

    Mike in Victoria

  • Where are the managers?

    A very good question. In the year or so since I started this blog and really began to be more aware of customer service/engagement, the lack of management has been pretty evident. If managers are there, I certainly haven’t been able to tell them apart from their staff, either through appearance or action.

    Where ARE the managers?

    Thanks for the kind words on the blog and for the comment Mike. Customer service can only get better through discussion.

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