Systems and Smiles: The Customer Service Formula

Keynote Speaker Customer Service Speaker Micah Solomon

 From keynote speaker – customer service speaker  Micah Solomon



Carl Sewell long ago titled a chapter “Systems, Not Smiles,” in his classic customer service book Customers for Life.

He explained his point like this: If the food in a restaurant is lousy, no matter how much they smile and apologize for it, you’ll likely not eat there again.

Of course, Carl’s kind of right. But the flip side’s that without those smiles, nobody wants the service experience in the first place.  As Danny Meyer by contrast puts it, the two things people want from the hospitality experience are a sense of acknowledgement and, on returning, a sense of being remembered.  Both of which, I would say, are best delivered with a smile.

My formula, therefore, has always been Systems and Smiles.

It is astoundingly hard to get both.  A few years back, my family moved just a few miles, and a local moving company was recommended to us.  Their smiles were as broad as the day is long – I assume that’s why they got the recommendations.

Somehow in the sea of smiles, I missed fact about their operating procedure: Our dozen up dozen of boxes had names on them like “master bedroom,”  “office,” etc.  But they had no numbering system, no tagging system.

In other words:  No way to prove if every box had made the move.  Or not.

This situation seemed fine (again the smiles went a long way – too far, I guess, in a sense), until we were missing something. A small work of art, precious to us because we’d acquired it more than a decade ago.

Could the sweet little local moving company help us?

Uh, no. They couldn’t even prove that everything that had left our former house had made it to the new one. There were no smiles anywhere once this reality sunk in.

Systems and smiles – the two will take you a long, long way. More than twice as far as one, or the other.

By Micah Solomon – keynote speaker, customer service speaker, customer service consultant, and #1 bestselling author of “Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization.” Visit with Micah at Or, click here for your own free chapter  of Micah Solomon’s #1 customer service bestseller, Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization (American Management Association/ AMACOM)