Never Say: A Customer-Service No-No

What You Say And Don’t Say To A Customer Near Closing Time
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

The other evening I needed to pick up a prescription, so I called to find out when the pharmacy closed.

I was told,  “We close and nine o’clock…on the dot.”

Those words—on the dot—told me a lot about the individual who answered the phone and the pharmacy that she worked for.

Her words told me…

One.   I was not speaking with the owner. Most owners are willing to do something extra to make a sale.  Individuals  who think of themselves as working by the hour may not.

This pharmacy needs to make sure its employees think like owners, not like hourly workers—through careful hiring practices, an employee profit-sharing plan, bonuses, an incentive program, a quality program, etc.

Two. I probably cannot count on this pharmacy to do anything extra if I ever really need it.

Three. The woman who answered the phone  had not been properly trained in customer service. If she had been, she would have said something like, “We close at nine. How can I help you?” Then she might have asked, “If you are on your way, how soon can you get here?” If my arrival time was unreasonable, or if it was not an emergency, she could have said, “Someone will be happy to stay if it’s an emergency, but if it isn’t, can you come at another time, or can I send your prescription to a 24-hour pharmacy?”

Whatever her reason for saying “on the dot,” it sent the wrong message to me.  Radio and television stations can say “on the dot,” but not pharmacies.

As it turned out, I was able to get there before it closed, and got my prescription. But I plan to move my business to another pharmacy.

If you want your organization or company to be known for great customer service, don’t let people know by your words that you are unwilling to be inconvenienced.
Gene Griessman is an award-winning professional speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-435-2225 or [email protected] Learn more about Gene Griessman at and

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Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
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