By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker, Founder, Chairman, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training


THE ANSWER: Untold Millions.


We might never know the “exact” amount of money that is lost every day by companies in all industries because of how customers were treated or mistreated. But suffice it to say it’s a LOT.

Some companies go out of business. Some stay in business and limp along and downsize carrying on with less staff making it more difficult.

Yes, online purchases hurt some. But they can lose business as well, when/if it gets to a phone call. (FOR THE SAME REASON: POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.)

The story:

I had sent Dick to a large retailer to get a few things. High end items. We choose a large, popular, retailer. He texted me with “Mission accomplished, got everything you wanted” and was on his way to check out.

Yes, he had indeed found everything. Gotta say that seldom happens. Good job!

But what happened next, sadly, happens a lot.

He called me from the car and said, “Hey Nancy, I’m so sorry. They were so bad at the counter, I walked out (leaving everything we had wanted in the cart at the counter). Get me another list and I’ll go somewhere else.”

What happened???

The lady ahead of him had a few things in her cart. At first, he was rather excited not to have to wait in a long line.  After a 5 or ten minute wait he asked the lady at the counter how long she thought this would take? It seemed there was some sort of issue and the counter person had called in another helper to help her help the customer.

Dick looked around and saw the other lines were by now very long and it was not worth changing lines. (Or so he thought.)

After standing 15 minutes in line behind ONE person with only a few items (which is a HUGE wait time for my husband), he looked behind him and saw his line now was quite long and the original clerk now had 3 retail helpers helping the ONE lady with two items in her cart. (Remember he had $500.00+ worth of merchandise in his cart.)

Well, he had hit his time limit for standing in line seeing that he was next in line and waited over 15 minutes for her two items to be checked out with 3 clerks all looking around trying to help the ONE lady with two items.

He walked out. Leaving over $500.00 in inventory right at the counter in his cart.

He found it mind boggling that the clerk or any one of the 3 wouldn’t have taken the other customer out of the line and helped them separately.

He also found it sad that no one in the store tried to soften the blow to the now very long line he was in by opening another line. Or at least offering some sort of help. (IE Apologies? Anything?)

I’m betting retail is hard. But it seems so is ‘common sense.’

The real sad part?

The manager, the company, no one, seemed to care that $500.00+ of merchandise was left sitting in a cart to be put back (lord knows when and by whom). Or that it was all due to Poor Customer Service and common sense.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman, customer service keynote speaker, is founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training and a featured speaker at franchise, association, and corporate meetings around the world. A popular TV guest, she appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, as well as hundreds of other radio, television and print outlets around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. The author of 9 books on her chosen topics, Nancy helps corporate America improve their communications with their customers & co-workers.