Deliver the Best Customer Service

Don’t worry about the sale.  Just take care of the customer.  Give the customer the best customer service you can deliver, even if the customer isn’t buying, and eventually the sale will come.

This idea actually goes back to a concept I’ve been writing about for 30 years.  Dr. Ted Levitt, senior professor at Harvard Business School, once said, “The function of a business is to get and keep customers.”  However, when I ask many people what the function of a business is, most of them say, “To make money.”

Making money is not the function of a business, it is the goal.  If you confuse the function of the business, getting and keeping customers, you don’t always reach your goal, which is to make money.

Dr. Levitt’s comment is brilliant.  Focus on getting and keeping customers, and eventually you’ll make money.  Simply put, you need customers to make money.  Without them, there’s no money – and no business.

Once again, I’m bringing up Ace Hardware, who is the feature of my upcoming book, Amaze Every Customer, Every Time.  They are a role model case study for this concept.  Here is a “Good Samaritan” story.

Maria lives in Mesa, AZ.  Her eight-year-old-daughter saw one of those color-changing Mood Rings in the mall and pushed it onto her finger.  Unfortunately the ring was too small and wouldn’t come off her finger.  After struggling for an hour, she was showing signs of circulation problems.  What did Maria do?  She went to the local Ace Hardware store.  Why?  They help with everything.

Floyd, one of the Ace associates came to the rescue.  With a special pair of pliers, Floyd carefully maneuvered the ring and eventually it came off.

Once the ring was off, Maria took a picture of her daughter showing off her newly liberated finger at the store.  She was smiling and posted the photo on Facebook and told everyone how Floyd at the Ace Hardware store had helped her.  The post received great response.

Maria bought nothing that day.  But, that didn’t deter Floyd from delivering amazing customer service.  While Ace didn’t make an actual sale, they made a customer very happy, so much so that the customer evangelized on their behalf.

Ace knows that the customer is more important than the money.  Once customers recognize this, they reciprocate with business and loyalty – and that leads to profit.

NOTE: This article is based on one of the tools from Shep Hyken’s upcoming book Amaze Every Customer Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet, which appears in stores everywhere in September 2013. Preorder the book and get valuable extras at  

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times  bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXIII, Shep Hyken)


Mark Sanborn
About Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Mark Sanborn graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University. In addition to his work as a business educator and author, Mark continues to be an active leadership practitioner. Most recently he served as the president of the National Speakers Association.

One Response to Guest blog: Shep Hyken on Customer Service
  1. Awesome story Shep. What Floyd did at Ace Hardware is true customer service.


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