Top Ten Customer Service Mistakes


Last Thursday, my vet called in two prescriptions to my local drug store for one of my dogs. Fortunately, it’s not a serious problem, but something that does need treatment. I followed up later in the day to find out when the prescriptions would be ready. It should have been a simple call, but there were problems. Whoever initially took down the prescriptions got my dog’s name wrong, and then there was an issue about one of the pills, which was a refill.


Finally, we got everything sorted, and the pharmacist assured me both prescriptions would be ready mid-afternoon Saturday. Not so! When I went in Saturday, the clerk couldn’t find the prescriptions. First, the name wasn’t changed, so that took time to sort out, and then only one of the medicines was ready, and there was no chance for the other to be filled until Monday.


On the customer service score, this pharmacy was thumbs down in my book. It’s close by my house, so convenience counts for a lot, but another bad experience like this, and I’m taking my business elsewhere.


This pharmacy actually violated three of AllBusiness, an online resource for small businesses, cited as The Top Ten Customer Service Mistakes. They include:


  1. Not training your staff properly.
  2. Trying to win the argument with the customer.
  3. Being inaccessible to customers.
  4. Standing by your policy – no matter what.
  5. Failing to keep promises.
  6. Keeping poor customer records.
  7. Giving customers the runaround.
  8. Sending canned responses.
  9. Failing to listen.
  10. Forgetting the basics – please and thank you.


In this case, clearly, the pharmacy failed to keep its promise and failed to keep its customer records up to date. I also think there was a failure somewhere in staff training. Someone did not take down the right information from the start, and I lay the blame on management and training staff in need to be thorough and accurate.


I’m sure you could find another list of 10 or five top customer complaints. The point isn’t how many; the point is that all of them are avoidable. No matter how good your service is, in the end, it won’t count if your customer service is lacking.


I think the beginning of the year is a good time to think about what you offer and how you are coming across to the client. Excellent service includes both outstanding professional know-how as well as exceptional customer service. The last thing you want to do is send your clients into the ‘hands’ of a competitor because your customer service doesn’t make the grade. Simply put, high customer service scores brings a high return of customers, and it’s a win-win situation for all.