Article > Opinion

Excellent Customer Service: Easier Than You Think


We continually talk about the customer, when does customer service end? Obviously never.

By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber

A few months ago we wrote about the fictitious counterman Joe — we will call him Joe Counterman. The one who showed up late, did a poor job answering the phones, made very little effort and was basically just passing through.

Poor Joe Counterman was having a tough time understanding what it takes to be successful in the workplace. This more than likely was the result of being somewhat immature, untrained and generally uncaring. To our surprise we actually heard from Joe, he really does exist and his name is — JOE!

Joe explained that he was that high school kid working in the local auto parts store with no real direction. He did want to set the record straight stating that he did shave daily. 

He went on to tell us that one of the older countermen saw the potential in Joe and started to train and mentor him. He learned about how to speak to people and not at them, he learned to listen. He also learned that many times there could be more than one way to deal with any given situation. He learned the value of customer service and that taking the easy way out may not always be the best way.

Joe went on to have an extremely successful 30-year career and is currently working in a management role with a major manufacturer. We wish him continued success. You never know!

Our point is that with all of our modern methods today, Joe’s simple training and mentoring did the trick and created a lifetime of employment and a solid career.

We continually talk about the customer, when does customer service end? Obviously never. We continuously have to try and improve our skills; not only on the tasks which gratify us the most, but also on the daily mundane, repetitious tasks we don’t really enjoy performing.

Here is a simple exercise to both build customer service awareness and at the same time take a look within yourself. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into four columns. Mark the first column, “How you treat people” and the next column “How you want to be treated.” Head the next two columns, “Stores and people that have excellent customer service and why” and the final column, “Stores, people and incidents that have not met your expectations.”

Start thinking about it and fill it out for a week or two. You will quickly see a pattern emerging and hopefully the light bulb will turn on. By doing this simple exercise you will be forced to look in the mirror and assess your strengths, weaknesses and tributes. The strong areas, as well as the areas which need improvement will quickly be identified.

Our feeling is that Joe came into our industry just passing through. Somewhere the light bulb came on and he got it. He learned what great customer service was all about and it stayed with him to this day.

Somehow, we are certain that this is not an isolated example. However, you be the judge when you fill out your own chart and then look in the mirror.

Excellent customer service does not happen unless you make it happen. 

Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop.

For more information, go to: or e-mail

Advertise     Contact Us     Subscribe    
Babcox Media •
3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333
330-670-1234 • (FAX) 330-670-0874
Babcox Website Counterman: Home