Companies exhibit a baffling level of incompetence in the customer service realm. Baffling because one assumes some things are “understood” and “accepted” norms of running a company. However, a recent encounter with a national retailer convinced me I must be wrong. These must be fundamentally difficult concepts not readily apparent or comprehended.

So let me initiate this company (and others) into the mysterious world of customer care.



  1. It is important to know who your customers are. When your customers contact your company (when, not if), you must know who they are and what they purchased. I have found it is helpful to reference an order number, for example.
  2. Taking an order, though necessary, is not sufficient. You must be able to fulfill the order and deliver the product when you say you will. Sadly, this company compares unfavorably with such paragons of customer service virtue as cable TV and internet service providers.
  3. To help with the first two items, it is valuable to implement a CRM platform. Such a system will assist in keeping a record of business transaction(s). The historical knowledge contained therein will permit your company to track the many twists and turns your customers suffer when dealing with your “service” department.

I’m not in the habit of providing stock tips, but if I owned shares in this company, these lapses in process (and frankly common sense) would cause me grave concern.

Running my first lemonade stand many decades ago yielded a business “truth” that seems to have escaped the troubled retailer. Specifically – companies thrive by selling products to customers. So if a company like this doesn’t know who their customers are or how to fulfill an order they lack the most basic components required to make money.

The pivot point is that being a successful business requires more than a product and a sales team. It also requires fulfilling orders, processing an invoice, and handling customer questions. None of these things are particularly difficult, but apparently they aren’t quite as easy as I thought either. (Another disgruntled case study here.)

Which companies have you worked with recently that missed the [pivot] point?

Customer Experience – Easy but Difficult
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