When No Reaction is the Best Reaction/Great Customer Service

If you follow me on Twitter (which you should totally do because I’m awesome) then you know I can get ranty about bad customer service. And by “ranty” I mean “one step shy of complete lunacy.” I worked in retail for a long time and know that although dealing with customers can be the most painful experience ever, you have to put a smile on your face and figure out how to make things better. You know, because it's your job.

Sure, you may not agree when a customer returns to the store you’re working at to return a broken $200 Royal Dalton figurine they JUST purchased from you, which you carefully wrapped in reflective blue paper and an oversize Tiffany’s bow; and you may want to kick said customer in the ovary as she yells at you for having the audacity to sell her broken merchandise after you nicely ask if she may have dropped it, but because you’re a paid employee representing the company, you smile, say you’ll get the manager and then bitch about it to your coworkers for the majority of your lunch break. Not that I have any real personal experience with that...*stares*.

Anyway, so because I put in many, many years dealing with VERY difficult people, I have a certain level of expectation in regards to customer service. And usually, when I receive poor customer service, I tweet mean but witty remarks about the company in question and maybe write them an email. However, I recently gave myself a Tarot card reading and a “warning” came up in regards to how I handle situations. Namely that I need to dial back the insanity and be calmer. Taking it with a grain of salt (as I do all readings), I didn't linger on it too much. 

And then, two things happened.

Story 1:
This past Saturday, The Remix and I were out for our weekly lunch date at East Side Mario’s when – right at the end of my meal – I found a long black hair underneath my fish.

Now, my usual reaction would have been a little something like this:

Okay, not really, but it's what I'd think about doing.

Instead, though, I opted for a more subdued reaction of:

Immediately, the plate was whisked away. Our server came back a moment later to ask if I wanted another entrée. Although I didn’t eat the hair, I obviously got a little sick to my stomach when I saw it, so I opted out of the replacement. I mean, I know that happens sometimes but still, it’s gross. Then our server said that we’d get the entrée taken off the bill - rightly so. But then, she came over with a voucher for the value of the entrée AND offered The Remix a complimentary dessert of his choice.

In sum:

No reaction = justified removal of entrée bill, additional credit for future entrée, free dessert of choice.

On the car ride home, I shared with The Remix about the Tarot card reading and he said that he’d wondered what was going on because of my lack of ape-shit-ness reaction.

Story 2:
On Thursday of last week, I was supposed to get my hair done. Since moving to Fredericton, I’ve had two fantastic stylists but both of them got pregnant and didn’t go back to work.


So I made an appointment with a guy who recently opened up his own salon. It had a kind of witty name and apparently he’s THE go-to-guy for fun coloured hair (I’m currently rocking navy blue highlights). I watched this video, by Suz at Parenthetically, and was inspired to do a little blonde/blue ombre and, under Suz's advice, wanted to use Elumen hair colouring. He said there’d be no problem; he used the dye all of the time. It was like destiny! That is, until I showed up for my appointment and the dye hadn’t come in. Again, I understand that these things happen but why the eff didn’t he call to tell me? It takes almost half an hour to get there!

Instead of doing my seething low voice (which is very freaky, even to me), I stared. Now, I know it's  creepy to just stare at someone, but he was leaving these long pauses between sentences, where I'm pretty sure he was waiting for me to say that it was okay, which is ridiculous because it wasn't okay, and I wanted an apology in lieu of one thousand reasons why the dye didn't come in. 

So it went a little something like this:

Him: "The dye’s not in..."

Me (re-enacted): 
Judging you.

Him: “My supplier was supposed to bring it yesterday but didn’t…”

Me (re-enacted):

Him: “I tried to call you…”

Me (re-enacted):

(I was also irritated because when someone says the “tried” to call, it really means, “I actually didn’t but it sounds better if I say that.”)

In the end, we rescheduled my appointment for today (haha, I’m there right now! It’s like I’m in two places at the same time! Is this was magicians feel like?). And just as I was about to leave, he handed me a gift certificate to use towards my appointment. I said thank you and took it (redemption point #1).

When I got home, I noticed that he actually did call me but didn’t leave a message (redemption point #2). And it was about a minute after I’d left. Then, I looked at the gift certificate and saw that it was originally written out for $20, but he’d then changed it to $30. During our conversation, he kept looking down at what I thought was his calendar book but, instead, he was upping my credit! (redemption point #3).

In sum:

No reaction = a $10 increase in service credit.

Now I'm not saying that I’ll never go on a bad-company-rant on Twitter but last week taught me that sometimes it’s better to be lower key about it. The acknowledgement of something bad happening is often enough for me but these two individuals guaranteed my future business because they showed me that I was important – that my business mattered. And I like that. A lot.  

So the lesson I learned is that sometimes a low-key reaction can produce the same result as a mega-crazy-face one so the technique has been added to my problem-solving toolbox, to be used when appropriate. And I’m ALL ABOUT filling up that toolbox! Plus, staring and blinking is way easier than thinking of things to say (not that I really have that problem but you know...).  


  1. I LOVE the reenactments! I'm so glad you were given reasonable customer service. I feel like that is rare these days. I also really want to see your new hair colour!

  2. I don't think it's unreasonable to have certain customer service expectations because I definitely do. Glad this worked out in your favor!

  3. Hilarious post! The reenactments are great, funny that some of them are housewives, hah! And also awesome that you got something for not reacting!

  4. I'm glad you got good customer service! Usually being courteous does pay off, but when it doesn't? Just step back, cause this girl's gonna have a few choice words, lol.


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