Oh, my gosh! Had I known how many people would contact me about the lack of customer service in this world, I would have written this series long ago!
Is customer service dead?
I think not! There’s even a “Dummie” book on the subject, Customer Service for Dummies?

Customer service will never be dead as long as their is a desire by the public to be appreciated for their business. I’m talking about all businesses, whether for goods and/or services, or even a business like the Dept. of Motor Vehicles (notorious for the lack of service and cooperation of any kind).
And speaking of the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, and I’ve had experience with these departments in Texas, New Mexico, and now in California. I have to say one thing about this particular governmental department, no matter which of these states your in, it is exactly the kind of experience that you can have at Starbucks, it is the same every time you go there!
So lets give Starbucks a break (for a moment), and consider customer service at the DMV:

Visualize, if you will, the DVM: You pull up to a building that used to house a supermarket. You walk in, and there are posted instructions in several different areas, in both English and Spanish. Good, so far. There is a well worn Formica counter in front of you, and an oddly placed stand that dispenses “numbers” (a queue in jolly old England) similar to the one at Baskin-Robbin. There is no one behind the counter, but you can see the “bull pen”, a plethora of mostly empty desks, with the exception of the handful of employees, who all happen to be on the telephone.

Now, I don’t know about you, but anytime that I’ve needed another document, or an important question answered, I have never had one of the employees leave the front counter and go back to their desk and telephone anyone on my behalf. I estimate that I’ve licensed no less than ten cars in three different states, and I can’t for the life of me figure out who in the heck these people are talking to.

Do you?

What I do know is that if they’re talking on the telephone, then they’re not at the front counter helping the people who have taken “a number”. I would rather have my wisdom teeth extracted than register a car, in any state!

Photo, above: Ouch!


Photo, above: The “Express License Dept.”, Dept of Motor Vehicles, NYC.
I wonder, what kind of customer service training these employee’s have had? Or, do they have so many more rights than their employer, that the employer doesn’t even have the right to enforce a customer service policy? I don’t know the answer to this, but as a California business owner, I haven’t one right if a disgruntled employee files a claim of any kind. That’s for another series!

For those of you engaged in the workforce, public or private, when you’ve given good service, and it is appreciated by the recipient, is there a sense of satisfaction for having put yourself out there? For me, absolutely. It is almost as gratifying as the financial reward.

But a funny thing happens when I give good customer service, the financial rewards come more frequently. If anyone can refute that, then bring it on!

Here is some of the email from this weeks post’s:

Received 2/18/10, from one of the mega-producing real estate brokers, in Dallas, TX comes this story of customer service gone awry, and this time it was at the GAP (I’ve already said that Starbucks may get a break from me today!):

“Regarding your Design Guy comments about Customer Service… thank you for railing against those who know nothing about good service and its importance.. It’s rampant.. today I was in the Gap and waiting in line to check out with another person. Ahead of us was an off duty employee purchasing something who was getting so much attention from the two employees checking customers out… it was unbelievable… they were joking, gabbing, on and on amongst the three of them with no regard whatsoever for the real customers behind her waiting to pay real money for the purchases… it was shocking… I really wanted to say something but my desire to just get out of there was stronger… And worse, one of the idiots was the manager!! Where’s she getting her training? So, tell me about soapboxes… I’m right up there with you.
Take care and keep writing.. you’re really quite good at it!

Photo, above: A new Gap Ad…maybe they should spend a little time with their employees explaining what this thoughtful message means!

And this received 2/19/10:

By the way…”when these girls were gabbing uncontrollably, there was no eye contact with the other customers waiting, and the talk was loud and obnoxious…they were even yelling at her on her way out of the store…it was absolutely appalling!”

Photos, above: Some fashion ideas for getting rude salespeople to make eye contact with you.


GAP, Inc could have a huge influence on the world in the area of customer service, just look at these stats:

GAP operates 3,167 stores in United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Japan. The company also operates its stores in Asia, Europe and the Middle East through franchise agreements. GAP is headquartered in San Francisco, California, the U.S and employs 15,000 people.

The GAP’s revenue in 2009 was down 7.8%* below 2008 results (*Business Week 2/19/10)

How about it GAP, Inc management…you want to invest in a little customer service training? Why don’t you give it a whirl?


Today’s helpful hints from the Design Guy:

To reduce a high incidence of computer key-board damage, consider supplying this new style Aeron desk chair to your employees:


Enough said (for the moment).


To my readers:

Thank you for your emails and feedback on the Customer Service series of articles. I agree the time is now to turn this problem around, and articles like these, and with the interest that you’ve all expressed, I think we can turn it around, one employee at a time!

Thank you,


Good Night Moon

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