Selecting Customers

 

One reason American culture is in such a sorry state today is because the customer is always right.

I have explained on Ricochet before why this aphorism is actually a bad business model. It encourages misbehavior among customers and thereby increases expenses (in turn, increasing prices) while making both customers and employees miserable.

Regular stresses from customers require incentives to retain good workers. If some stresses are avoidable, then so are those costly incentives. As worker satisfaction suffers, so does one’s performance.

Good store customers are not pleased by an environment of loud complaints, litter, displaced products, obstruction, noise, or other auras of perpetual malcontents. Nor are good customers of service industries pleased by long delays and higher prices because nitwits keep hogging employee attention and exploiting every loophole. Then there are costs like an abundance of used products or repairing one’s reputation following false or juvenile reviews.

In truth, any business benefits financially by focusing on reasonable customers while deterring and even excluding the most unreasonable. Also, since a majority of public interactions involve economic activity of some kind, to exclude moral considerations from one’s daily business is to exclude morality from life generally.

If a great portion of our time — economic activity — does not foster good behavior among our neighbors, then it should surprise no one that selfish and immoral activity multiplies.

Not all cultural changes of the past half-century have been for the worse. But much has indeed worsened due to a general shift of moral responsibility in public life from non-legal customs to political and legal authorities. Governments cannot substitute for all, or even most, non-legal sanctions and incentives. Households, neighborhoods, schools, and — yes — businesses all bear some responsibility in maintaining moral expectations.

That partly means telling unreasonable customers they are free to buy elsewhere. In a corrupt society, loyalty is gained among reasonable customers by maintaining a virtuous environment. It’s a place good customers can enjoy, respect, and trust. In a healthier society, more companies making reasonable demands of their customers encourages good behavior all around. Though there is a temptation to demand too much (because we are all called to perfection), it is certainly possible to balance justice with mercy, criticism with tolerance, consequences with invitation.

Granted, we have witnessed what happens when a culture’s morals and/or ethics are commonly corrupted. When the unreasonable becomes normal, the reasonable are the ones unsatisfied, taxed, and excluded. But as misbehavior of governments does not negate the need of some government, so poorly directed or mismanaged non-legal policies and standards should not dissuade us from seeking better ones. We know by experience that our culture can be more disciplined, more generous, and more fruitful than we presently see.

There isn’t business and then real life. It’s all life. Every part of it participates in the formation of persons and, by extension, the communities they embody. Sometimes a customer must be told to act respectfully or else make way for someone ready to be helped.

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 29 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    One the best aspects of having a full practice, with a waiting list, is that I can always say, “Gosh, you know Dr. Smith across the street is really good at whatever the heck problems you have.”  If someone becomes too difficult or demanding, I can just ease them out.  In medicine, at any given time, 10% of our patients require 90% of our attention.  Some of which are reasonable.  An end-stage cancer patient of course will require a lot of attention.  As it should be.

    But if it’s just hypochondria or being high-maintenance, then that person is drawing my attention away from the cancer patient.  And that is not sustainable long term.

    Unless I have nothing better to do, of course.

    • #1
  2. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Aaron Miller: There isn’t business and then real life. It’s all life. Every part of it participates in the formation of persons and, by extension, the communities they embody. Sometimes a customer must be told to act respectfully or else make way for someone ready to be helped.

    Those of us who are normal, grateful customers need to give the stink-eye to Karen, when she makes life hell for some youth struggling to serve her for minimum wage.   We should also model proper customer behavior by smiling, not being a fussy, and being thankful. 

    • #2
  3. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Great job, Aaron.  I think you’re spot on. Like you, I’ve always thought that silly slogan that the customer is always right was a disastrous business practice.

    And as you say, its application outside of retail causes even more problems.

    You write clear prose that’s a pleasure to read.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Although this example is on a tiny scale, I used to have regular arguments with my nail person, trying to persuade her that she didn’t have to make last minute changes or appointments for her demanding clients. They expected her to accommodate their every whim, and were outraged when she didn’t.  I finally got her to realize that she was entitled to have a life without unreasonable demands; that she could afford to have some clients leave her; and that she had the right to set boundaries on her availability. When she finally understood that fact, her life changed and the clients either left or stopped being ridiculous. I took great satisfaction in her realization. And she’s much happier.

    • #4
  5. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    One the best aspects of having a full practice, with a waiting list, is that I can always say, “Gosh, you know Dr. Smith across the street is really good at whatever the heck problems you have.” If someone becomes too difficult or demanding, I can just ease them out. In medicine, at any given time, 10% of our patients require 90% of our attention. Some of which are reasonable. An end-stage cancer patient of course will require a lot of attention. As it should be.

    But if it’s just hypochondria or being high-maintenance, then that person is drawing my attention away from the cancer patient. And that is not sustainable long term.

    Unless I have nothing better to do, of course.

    Working in the new Corporate Medicine ( our local urgent care was bought by a national company trying to corner the market on urgent care)  I hate the “customer service” model being rammed down our throats.

    We had a mandatory seminar on “The Disney Model” trying to tell us that going for medical care is just like a trip to the Magic Kingdom.  I wanted to barf.  It’s not.

    My major beef?  I don’t see customers, I see patients.   I’m not a “provider” I’m a doctor.  And the doctor patient relationship goes back a lot longer than frickin Disney.   I owe my patients my providing the best care and advice I am able to too provide.    Sometimes that means they don’t get what they want. Period. Because it’s not good medicine.

    “Customers” get what they want. Patients get what they need.

    I am soooooooo glad I’m only looking at a couple of months to a year before I can retire.

    • #5
  6. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I finally got her to realize that she was entitled to have a life without unreasonable demands; that she could afford to have some clients leave her; and that she had the right to set boundaries on her availability.

    I’ve had similar troubles by failing to set boundaries. In many service industries that fill one’s schedule with work, it is often possible to let unreasonable clients go while maintaining a packed schedule.

    Alternatively, one can trade away some profit for non-financial gain or deferred benefits, like improved service quality (leading to improved reputation and its rewards).

    Another false claim that’s common today is that lack of business growth is the same as a failing business or lost revenue. Publicly traded companies have agreed to pursue constant growth, but private companies are free to set their own goals. Income is only one of many reasonable priorities, even among things that can increase business opportunities. For example, more time to socially network, to educate oneself, or to explore potential resources can improve one’s business.

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    It should be “The customer always gets what he wants.”

    • #7
  8. Michael Brehm Coolidge
    Michael Brehm
    @MichaelBrehm

    I always interpreted “the customer is always right” as meaning that you don’t question the reason why your customer was choosing to buy your product, not they had free rein to do whatever they wanted in your store.

    • #8
  9. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    One of my best bosses taught me that you need to be willing to fire a bad customer. If they consistently burn valuable time and frustrate valuable employees, toss ’em out on their ear (metaphorically).

    • #9
  10. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    One the best aspects of having a full practice, with a waiting list, is that I can always say, “Gosh, you know Dr. Smith across the street is really good at whatever the heck problems you have.” If someone becomes too difficult or demanding, I can just ease them out. In medicine, at any given time, 10% of our patients require 90% of our attention. Some of which are reasonable. An end-stage cancer patient of course will require a lot of attention. As it should be.

    But if it’s just hypochondria or being high-maintenance, then that person is drawing my attention away from the cancer patient. And that is not sustainable long term.

    Unless I have nothing better to do, of course.

    Working in the new Corporate Medicine ( our local urgent care was bought by a national company trying to corner the market on urgent care) I hate the “customer service” model being rammed down our throats.

    We had a mandatory seminar on “The Disney Model” trying to tell us that going for medical care is just like a trip to the Magic Kingdom. I wanted to barf. It’s not.

    My major beef? I don’t see customers, I see patients. I’m not a “provider” I’m a doctor. And the doctor patient relationship goes back a lot longer than frickin Disney. I owe my patients my providing the best care and advice I am able to too provide. Sometimes that means they don’t get what they want. Period. Because it’s not good medicine.

    “Customers” get what they want. Patients get what they need.

    I am soooooooo glad I’m only looking at a couple of months to a year before I can retire.

    With most patients having insurance through an employer or the government, your patients aren’t even the customer, they are the users.  When I was employed, I sort of resented my employer telling me to “shop” for medical services, like it was a piece of merchandise where the price is the main characteristic.  I knew that not to be true.

    • #10
  11. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    I spent most of my working life as a “professional customer”.  As an industrial buyer, I tried to be good to my suppliers, to see their point of view.  My suppliers liked dealing with me, and would go the extra mile to find something that I needed.  I did have some mean suppliers, who would not return my calls, or always be late with deliveries with no explanation.  And I was very uncomfortable with some of my employer’s policies toward suppliers, like dictating payment terms that were much longer than normal.

    As a non-professional customer, I don’t like being described as a “guest” rather than a customer.  Your guest owes you, which places the guest slightly subordinate to you.  I prefer to be thought of as a customer, who is owed good, polite service.  I am always polite to salespeople in retail stores, too, and never argumentative.  I have just hated having to wear a mask when going shopping, because that prevents me from smiling at the checker.

    • #11
  12. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Who are you dealing with who acts like the customers are always right? I’d love to shop there!

    I find the opposite to be true.

    Of course, I mostly deal with shopping online. I found Wayfair to be good about accepting returns. But other places are terrible.

    Also much of my interaction as a senior citizen is as a health consumer.

    Paying such bills is terribly time consuming. First you have to hear about COVID, the availability of COVID vaccines and how there are fewer people around to provide customer service. Then I am thanked for the patience I don’t have at all, but they think I do.

    Okay, but all I want is to get to the automatic bill payment part of the phone menu, without the four minutes of intro.

    Then I need a 11 or 12 digit encounter number, and another 12 digit  patient ID number that changes for each billing statement.

    Then my 16 digit credit card #’s. Expiration date. Secret code, and then after all that, my payment is declined.

    So then I do have to get a hold of customer service – which means a 15 minute period of elevator music.

    The pleasant polite young woman talking with me says their system has a glitch and it is no big deal.

    For the first time in five years, I will now be paying bills using US mail.

    • #12
  13. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    With most patients having insurance through an employer or the government, your patients aren’t even the customer, they are the users.

    Yeah. I pointed the out to the “Disney” team.  The customer pays the bill.  And that means the patient may not get what he wants, or what he needs, if I’m playing “customer service”.

    • #13
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Kozak (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    With most patients having insurance through an employer or the government, your patients aren’t even the customer, they are the users.

    Yeah. I pointed the out to the “Disney” team. The customer pays the bill. And that means the patient may not get what he wants, or what he needs, if I’m playing “customer service”.

    I am always effusive in thanking my Medical Care Team, which includes my primary care physician who is a sole practitioner; my rheumatologist, who works at a big clinic that was bought out by a big medical insurer; and my rheumatologist’s nurse, who has been with him for many years and loves me.  I never bother them, and always pay my bills on time.

    • #14
  15. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Customer service has taken a huge nosedive in the past 20 years. Where on earth is the “Customer always right”? Can I shop there? I am with @caroljoy on this one. 

    Outside of Chic-fli-a, most customer encounters with big companies are horrible. Call centers are understaffed “We are experiencing higher than normal calls” which is a lie. The company just does not care to spend the money to have a human answer the phone. That is after an array of “press # for X” and the lie “Please make sure you listen to all the options because they have recently changed”. It is utter crap. If you are in person, no on at the store has the power or knowledge to do anything to really help. They have rules and they follow them. Period. 

    Healthcare’s problem, as is talked about above, is that people are not paying for their services. People have high customer satisfaction with plastic surgeons. It is all self pay. Healthcare is made miserable by the evil insurance companies. And I use the word advisedly. They work to not pay out. This distorts the providers of services. There is a reason so many therapists build a practice taking insurance and the drop it for all self pay. They are happier and their patients are happier. Anywhere you have “insurance” to pay for regular care or services, you have unhappy people. Even with car insurance and home insurance that work the way insurance should, the companies are evil and work hard not to pay you. They make their money by not paying people. 

    I don’t think “the customer is always right” by a long shot. But I also don’t think most companies give a damn about keep and losing customers. They are too busy selling to China.  

    • #15
  16. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Working in the new Corporate Medicine ( our local urgent care was bought by a national company trying to corner the market on urgent care) I hate the “customer service” model being rammed down our throats.

    I buy my doctoring services from a big corporation, mostly because every new doctor I see (and I see a lot of them now having reached that age where more and more body systems are performing sub-optimally) can pull my entire record and see what is in there that matters. I am spared from having to fill out endless forms and get redundant tests for every new visit.

    The price is that, for every visit, I get an email asking me to rate the visit, more or less like the form I get from the dealer when I take the truck in for a repair. I know this game and if you fill it out with anything less than a top score for any question it’s a black mark. (It’s like virtually every podcast I hear where the proprietors ask you to give them a 5-star rating; a 4-star rating is awful.)

    So when I have the patience to do so, I answer the numerous questions with top scores on every one. This is not really a lie, because everybody I’ve seen so far at the clinics and the hospital has been kind and informative.

    But sometimes it’s just tiring to do the survey and I blow it off. Then I feel bad because a non-response is probably also a black mark.

     

    • #16
  17. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    LL Bean was a niche seller of hunting boots and clothing, along with an array of ‘outdoorsy’ stuff like moccasins, plaid shirts, etc. They also sold preppie clothing like classic polo shirts and khaki pants. Bean was famous for their extremely high product quality and unconditional guarantees; you could return an object years after you bought it and they would repair or replace it. The items were costly but lasted forever. I have a pair of leather boots I bought in 1970 that are now kind of ugly but are still perfectly functional today. I used their extended warranty a couple of times.

    This worked fine until LL Bean got discovered by the larger public, when the preppy look got popular, and then later when the grunge flannel shirt became a mainstream look. Their sales volume shot up dramatically, but there was a downside.

    With the expansion of the customer base, the old lifetime guarantee started to cost them as they received too many products that had obviously been abused. So they ended up having to set boundaries on returns.

    Their original customer base was a group of people who appreciated the product quality and didn’t abuse the return privilege. But bringing in the hoi polloi made their version of “the customer is always right” untenable. 

    So I miss the old LL Bean. I also miss the old Internet, the one before the hoi polloi arrived.

    • #17
  18. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    LL Bean was a niche seller of hunting boots and clothing, along with an array of ‘outdoorsy’ stuff like moccasins, plaid shirts, etc. They also sold preppie clothing like classic polo shirts and khaki pants. Bean was famous for their extremely high product quality and unconditional guarantees; you could return an object years after you bought it and they would repair or replace it. The items were costly but lasted forever. I have a pair of leather boots I bought in 1970 that are now kind of ugly but are still perfectly functional today. I used their extended warranty a couple of times.

    So I miss the old LL Bean. I also miss the old Internet, the one before the hoi polloi arrived.

    When I was growing up in Portland (60’s) we would drive to the LL Bean showroom on Christmas morning (thinking back it may have been Thanksgiving) while mom cooked, since they were the only place open. There was one big room and the same two old guys working there.

    REI had the same issue and has to change their return rules.  So in this case sleazy customers ruined it for the good customers. 

     

    • #18
  19. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Customer service has taken a huge nosedive in the past 20 years. Where on earth is the “Customer always right”? Can I shop there? I am with @ caroljoy on this one.

    Outside of Chic-fli-a, most customer encounters with big companies are horrible. Call centers are understaffed “We are experiencing higher than normal calls” which is a lie. The company just does not care to spend the money to have a human answer the phone. That is after an array of “press # for X” and the lie “Please make sure you listen to all the options because they have recently changed”. It is utter crap. If you are in person, no on at the store has the power or knowledge to do anything to really help. They have rules and they follow them. Period.

    Healthcare’s problem, as is talked about above, is that people are not paying for their services. People have high customer satisfaction with plastic surgeons. It is all self pay. Healthcare is made miserable by the evil insurance companies. And I use the word advisedly. They work to not pay out. This distorts the providers of services. There is a reason so many therapists build a practice taking insurance and the drop it for all self pay. They are happier and their patients are happier. Anywhere you have “insurance” to pay for regular care or services, you have unhappy people. Even with car insurance and home insurance that work the way insurance should, the companies are evil and work hard not to pay you. They make their money by not paying people.

    I don’t think “the customer is always right” by a long shot. But I also don’t think most companies give a damn about keep and losing customers. They are too busy selling to China.

    • #19
  20. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    I’ve always said, “the customer is not always right, Right is always Right.”

     

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):
    Who are you dealing with who acts like the customers are always right? I’d love to shop there!

    Car dealership service department.

    Customer raises just the slightest stink and damn near everything is free.

     

     

     

     

    • #20
  21. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Aaron Miller: In truth, any business benefits financially by focusing on reasonable customers while deterring and even excluding the most unreasonable.

    I think that businesses have to manage expectations and anticipate problems.

    The Ritz-Carlton has very high standards for customer service. It is a source great pride for them, and deservedly so. But service starts with upper management and how they treat the employees. Interestingly, the average employee turnover in the hotel industry is about 80 percent, and at the Ritz it’s only about 20 percent. Their methods succeed.

    Businesses that support and respect their employees aren’t going to have a lot of problems with customers in the first place.

     

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller: In truth, any business benefits financially by focusing on reasonable customers while deterring and even excluding the most unreasonable.

    I think that businesses have to manage expectations and anticipate problems.

    The Ritz-Carlton has very high standards for customer service. It is a source great pride for them, and deservedly so. But service starts with upper management and how they treat the employees. Interestingly, the average employee turnover in the hotel industry is about 80 percent, and at the Ritz it’s only about 20 percent. Their methods succeed.

    Businesses that support and respect their employees aren’t going to have a lot of problems with customers in the first place.

    My favorite best hotel is the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok.  An espresso in the lobby costs $6, I guess, (that’s with cookies) and the food is okay (great, but everybody’s is great).  But while you’re sipping your espresso, you can have one of the lobby staff fluff your silk, down-feather throw pillow behind your back.  Now that’s service.

    Very nice. Very nice.

    Lord Jim's - Service

    Terrace Rim Naam

    Lobby

    Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok – Arrival

    The Oriental Spa - Hostess

    • #22
  23. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Flicker (View Comment):

    My favorite best hotel is the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok.  An espresso in the lobby costs $6, I guess, (that’s with cookies) and the food is okay (great, but everybody’s is great).  But while you’re sipping your espresso, you can have one of the lobby staff fluff your silk, down-feather throw pillow behind your back.  Now that’s service.

    Very nice. Very nice.

    I stayed for a weekend at the old Ritz-Carlton in Boston. I loved every second of it. As we were leaving, I said to my husband, “If I’m ever sick, tell the ambulance to take me to the Ritz-Carlton and drop me off with the doorman. He’ll know what to do!” :-) 

    • #23
  24. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    My favorite best hotel is the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. An espresso in the lobby costs $6, I guess, (that’s with cookies) and the food is okay (great, but everybody’s is great). But while you’re sipping your espresso, you can have one of the lobby staff fluff your silk, down-feather throw pillow behind your back. Now that’s service.

    Very nice. Very nice.

    I stayed for a weekend at the old Ritz-Carlton in Boston. I loved every second of it. As we were leaving, I said to my husband, “If I’m ever sick, tell the ambulance to take me to the Ritz-Carlton and drop me off with the doorman. He’ll know what to do!” :-)

    Yep.  Good service is wonderful. :)

    • #24
  25. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Customer service has taken a huge nosedive in the past 20 years. Where on earth is the “Customer always right”? Can I shop there? I am with @ caroljoy on this one.

    Outside of Chic-fli-a, most customer encounters with big companies are horrible. Call centers are understaffed “We are experiencing higher than normal calls” which is a lie. The company just does not care to spend the money to have a human answer the phone. That is after an array of “press # for X” and the lie “Please make sure you listen to all the options because they have recently changed”. It is utter crap. If you are in person, no on at the store has the power or knowledge to do anything to really help. They have rules and they follow them. Period.

    Healthcare’s problem, as is talked about above, is that people are not paying for their services. People have high customer satisfaction with plastic surgeons. It is all self pay. Healthcare is made miserable by the evil insurance companies. And I use the word advisedly. They work to not pay out. This distorts the providers of services. There is a reason so many therapists build a practice taking insurance and the drop it for all self pay. They are happier and their patients are happier. Anywhere you have “insurance” to pay for regular care or services, you have unhappy people. Even with car insurance and home insurance that work the way insurance should, the companies are evil and work hard not to pay you. They make their money by not paying people.

    I don’t think “the customer is always right” by a long shot. But I also don’t think most companies give a damn about keep and losing customers. They are too busy selling to China.

     

     

    I call your Dilbert, and raise you Pearls Before Swine:

     

    Pearls Before Swine

     

    • #25
  26. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Aaron Miller: much has indeed worsened due to a general shift of moral responsibility in public life from non-legal customs to political and legal authorities.

    Indeed. Government is a blunt instrument. 

    Aaron Miller: Governments cannot substitute for all, or even most, non-legal sanctions and incentives.

    Sure they can. We just need more government. Once it’s big enough everyone will be sooooooo happy! 

    • #26
  27. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Flicker (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller: In truth, any business benefits financially by focusing on reasonable customers while deterring and even excluding the most unreasonable.

    I think that businesses have to manage expectations and anticipate problems.

    The Ritz-Carlton has very high standards for customer service. It is a source great pride for them, and deservedly so. But service starts with upper management and how they treat the employees. Interestingly, the average employee turnover in the hotel industry is about 80 percent, and at the Ritz it’s only about 20 percent. Their methods succeed.

    Businesses that support and respect their employees aren’t going to have a lot of problems with customers in the first place.

    My favorite best hotel is the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. An espresso in the lobby costs $6, I guess, (that’s with cookies) and the food is okay (great, but everybody’s is great). But while you’re sipping your espresso, you can have one of the lobby staff fluff your silk, down-feather throw pillow behind your back. Now that’s service.

    Very nice. Very nice.

    Lord Jim's - Service

    Terrace Rim Naam

    Lobby

    Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok – Arrival

    The Oriental Spa - Hostess

    I had friends from Thailand who lived down the street from me in San Rafael, CA

    Just visiting them in their living room meant one free three course meal, a plush armchair with hassock for feet and legs, and so much warmth and affection it was almost embarrassing. Then she got transferred over to Europe and we lost touch.

    • #27
  28. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller: In truth, any business benefits financially by focusing on reasonable customers while deterring and even excluding the most unreasonable.

    I think that businesses have to manage expectations and anticipate problems.

    The Ritz-Carlton has very high standards for customer service. It is a source great pride for them, and deservedly so. But service starts with upper management and how they treat the employees. Interestingly, the average employee turnover in the hotel industry is about 80 percent, and at the Ritz it’s only about 20 percent. Their methods succeed.

    Businesses that support and respect their employees aren’t going to have a lot of problems with customers in the first place.

    My favorite best hotel is the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. An espresso in the lobby costs $6, I guess, (that’s with cookies) and the food is okay (great, but everybody’s is great). But while you’re sipping your espresso, you can have one of the lobby staff fluff your silk, down-feather throw pillow behind your back. Now that’s service.

    Very nice. Very nice.

    Lord Jim's - Service

    Terrace Rim Naam

    Lobby

    Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok – Arrival

    The Oriental Spa - Hostess

    I had friends from Thailand who lived down the street from me in San Rafael, CA

    Just visiting them in their living room meant one free three course meal, a plush armchair with hassock for feet and legs, and so much warmth and affection it was almost embarrassing. Then she got transferred over to Europe and we lost touch.

    Yeah, good folks.  And I bet she secretly fluffed your pillow.

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    I had friends from Thailand who lived down the street from me in San Rafael, CA

    Just visiting them in their living room meant one free three course meal, a plush armchair with hassock for feet and legs, and so much warmth and affection it was almost embarrassing. Then she got transferred over to Europe and we lost touch.

    And actually my tastes are more humble.  My favorite hotel in Bangkok is the New Empire, in Chinatown.  It is $21 a night for two and has a king bed, window overlooking a great temple and the Chaophraya river in the distance, hot water kettle and refrigerator, frequented by businessmen from all over Asia.  Reasonably clean and right in the heart of Chinatown.  The street food started just outside our front door and went on for miles.  Chinatown also is adjacent to the Bengali district. Great food there too.  I’m already missing it.

    You know, my favorite hotels no matter low, middle or high price were the ones with the most courteous service and genuine smiles.

    • #29