The ultimate reason to be nice to a customer

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

Funerary art

Funerary art: Hermes guiding the departed Myrrhine

Not that it comes down to this often, in most lines of work. But an ultimate reason to be kind to a customer (or, for that matter, a vendor) is the off chance it’ll be the last time you interact.

Opening the Times one bright morning I saw what no business owner ever wants to see: my customer’s face looking back at me from the obits. A customer we were all proud to work with here, a well-loved veteran of our industry. Somberly, I took a moment to look over my notes of our last interaction – hopeful, at least, that we had done right by him.

Here’s what I found looking over my notes: a project that had actually started with a small bump, and a customer who was gracious in giving us a chance to make things right. On what nobody could have known was to be his last project.

To speak with precision, he made our error seem small and merely bumplike, because that was his way: starting out a letter of very valid grievance with “First the good stuff–your staff has been excellent” before getting to the meat of what needed to be addressed.

So the transaction felt roundly satisfactory in the end, through his gracious way of bringing our attention to the issue, and, I’m hopeful to think, our way of resolving it.

That’s a nice way of leaving things, because you’re a long time gone.


A bonus post from the College of the Customer Archives