What Is Your Biggest Customer Service Problem?  

Jul 13, 2016 | 2 comments

Problem is not a word I like to use. I like to say, “opportunity” or “challenge”, but I’m saying PROBLEM here so that there is no mistake in what I’m asking you.


What is your Biggest Customer Service Problem at the counter, on the phone, or from your delivery guy (and I mean you ladies too)?

According to Keith Lee, Out-Nordstrom Nordstrom (available at KeithLee.com and I highly recommend it at $2.97), he says, “The biggest problem business owners make by far, is they don’t train their team to deliver great customer service.”

Keith goes on to say, “They hire people, tell them to give good customer service and beat them up once in a while when they don’t give good service; but they never train their staff to deliver great customer service. To compound the problem, the people they hire get such terrible service everywhere they go that they think just “handling” a customer, and not being rude, is good customer service. They think indifferent customer service with an attitude of ‘I’ll wait on you but I really don’t care if you’re here or not’, is just fine.”

It’s NOT!

The first thing you gotta do is hire the right people. Here are some ideas for you to do that.

Hiring Idea #1: Hire Smiling Faces & Nice Team Members – If some guy walks in with a frown on his face… DON’T hire him. If he doesn’t have a smile on his face during the interview, he’s never going to smile—don’t hire him.

Hiring Idea #2: Hire ONLY People You Like – Hire someone you’d like to hang out with after work or on weekends. Hire someone that is a good neighbor. Hire someone that is a good listener. I know what you’re saying, “Hey Greg, that kind of person costs way more than minimum wage.” Wrong! You can find them. I’ll tell you how.

Hiring Idea #3: Hire With The Intention Of Training Them With Life & Business Skills They Can Use For Their Dream Job or Business – When I find the right person for the job (and you will if you believe you will and I also use the ‘Law of Attraction’ to help me out. I’d explain it, but it’s own article), I explain to them that they won’t have this job for life; it’s a transition job to get them to their dream job or business. I go on to explain that I’m going to teach you skills that you can use in business and life that will get you the best jobs and even skills you can use in running your own business. I go on to tell them to be and do their best because it’s training for the really good jobs they’ll get later in life. If someone is older or even retired, they should have all of these skills already.

By the way, hiring retired folks are the bomb. They don’t need the money (so you can get a $50/hr person for $10 an hour or so). They just want to get out of the house and do something that makes them feel productive. Most people when they retire get bored and want to do something. They show up on time; are diligent, and get things done right. I have 2 retired guys per van. One guy works Monday/Tuesday and the other works Thursday/Friday. Both of them know all the routes so that if one wants off, the other covers. You’ll NEVER have to go out on deliveries again.

Hiring Idea #4: Hire In Groups  – I like to hire in at least groups of two. I like to watch how each of them reacts to the other. If I see one of them “rolling their eyes”, I don’t hire him or her. I don’t want him or her rolling their eyes at one of our customers. You can tell if they’re a good listener or if they interrupt. You can find out lots about a person when you put them in a group. And it also creates a little competition, which I think is good.

Here are a few training techniques and ideas for you and your team.

Training Idea #1: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – Buy a bunch of customer service books and give them to your team members. I recommend:

·      The Simple Truths Of Service, Inspired by Johnny the Bagger, Ken Blanchard and Barbara Glanz.

·      Inside the Magic Kingdom – Seven Keys to Disney’s Success, Tom Connellan

·      W.A.Y.M.I.S.H. – Why Are You Making It So Hard For Me To Give You My Money, Ray Considine & Ted Cohn

·      Customer Satisfaction Is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless, Jeffery Gitomer.

Training Idea #2: First Training Session Immediately Within 10 Minutes On Day 1 – You do this training the minute they start their new job. You teach them to give eye contact within 10 seconds of someone stepping into your counter lobby. Acknowledge your customer within 10 seconds so that they know that you know they are waiting. Have you ever walked into a store and there are employees running all over the place, but not one of them acknowledges you? How does that make you feel? Unwanted? Like crap? When that happens to me, I just want to leave! Very, very, very important!

Training Idea #3: How To Answer The Phone – This is very simple—BUT—very important. The telephone is the gateway to your cleaners. All you have when someone is calling in is that voice and attitude on the other end of the phone to welcome your customer or prospective customer to your dry cleaners. Answer the phone with a smile on your face and say, “Hi… Colosi’s Cleaners, Greg speaking”. Say it upbeat with a smile. Your smile will jump across the phone line and grab your customer’s attention. Your customer will smile too. It’s that simple. I learned this from our local billionaire Tom Golisano at lunch one day.  He started PayChex 30 years ago.

I hope you take some of these ideas and put them to work in your dry cleaning business.

Go to it!

Give me your comments below. Love to hear them.


  1. Howard

    I do agree with the observation that many cleaners hire based on immediate need. When anyone leaves in a rage, or don’t show up most owners take over the route themselves. What I call the “Luxury of time” in many cases is not available.

    I do not disagree with you. Many cleaners do not have the resources to hire a backup. Holding resume’s the candidate most like has moved on a different opportunity. If the candidate hasn’t found work somewhere, they have reason’s that others didn’t hire them either.

    It is a big conflict for owners. It unravels when balancing the immediate need and the time to develop better employees.

  2. Greg

    Get two retired guys (or gals) per each van and your challenge is solved. Easy fix.

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