Reader Confirms Value of Listening to Customers

Doug Bower, Ph. D.

For several years I have had the privilege of contributing articles regularly to Business Know-How, a must-have online resource for people who want to succeed professionally. I encourage you to subscribe to this complimentary publication:

Last week, BKH published my article, “Top 10 Things Customers Don’t Want to Hear.” Here’s the link:

Soon afterward, a reader responded by sharing his own experience of having his reasonable requests ignored. Read Dr. Doug Bower’s account of what happened and what he felt as a result:


I just read your article: “Top 10 Things Customers Don’t Want to Hear” published by Business Know How. I had a cathartic flash back experience which brought tears to my eyes.

I had been working on a certificate in sports medicine online. I wasn’t seeking to qualify for licensure or state certification. I have a degree in nursing and have been helping a local high school football program with sports medicine consults for years. It gave me a chance to expand my knowledge and views of sports medicine without the formality of a degree.

However as I got deeper into the program I found a couple of courses that I really couldn’t use. I approached the training program about swapping courses so that I could meet my needs as a practitioner. The program used virtually every one of those 10 points [Note: Doug is referring to the 10 points in my article] to stonewall my request. I was pretty persistent but the persistence only intensified the stonewalling.

I did not complete the course of study and found another program, even sharing the news I found another provider did not deter the program administrators from resisting changing their view on swapping courses. Come hell or high water, they weren’t going to allow me swap courses. If the courses would have qualified me for licensure and were required by a professional organization that would have been one thing, but these were C.E.Us in which on completing the package the program would have issued essentially a certification of completion of the package. That certification would not gain me any legal status to claim to be a practitioner of sports medicine. It simply would be an acknowledgement that I took certain courses to sharpen my knowledge.

On speaking with an athletic trainer later of my experience and the stonewalling from officials administering the program his response was, “they let you walk away?”

They lost my business by refusing to meet my needs. Yes, they got other customers and are still doing online business, but surely they have lost other customers because they weren’t/aren’t willing to adjust their programs to meet the customers needs feeling that doing so is too overwhelming for the provider.

Based in Arnoldsville, Georgia, Doug Bower has excelled in several arenas. He earned his Ph.D. in counseling from the counseling psychology department at the University of Georgia, became an ordained United Methodist Minister and Registered nurse, and he provides sports motivational programs for local high schools.

Doug and I will welcome your response. How highly do you value listening to customers? What can businesses do to improve their listening behavior?

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Water Bottle and Customer Service

It’s amazing how exceptional customer service–which customers love and tell their friends about–doesn’t demand extraordinary expense or effort, such as a half-price sale or an extra month of club membership.

This brief video tells you what happened when I bought a bottle of water in Cozumel, Mexico.

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Clearly, the store’s manager demonstrated that he wanted me to have what I had paid for. He illustrated integrity, a trait customers value. He could have kept the water bottle and re-sold it, but his customer loyalty and commitment to honesty wouldn’t allow that.

Let’s apply this incident to your business by having you answer these questions:

1. How did I surprise a customer with unusually good service?

*Published a direct phone number to customer service, to save time and reduce frustration
*Returned a call after closing hours, showing I care after my assigned work schedule
*Installed brighter parking lot lights, making night entrance to the building safer

2. What are three or four extra new services I can surprise them with next month?

*Install a no-cost Internet connection for customers who have to wait two or three hours, so they can continue working
*Call those who said we solved their complaints last month, ask if they are problem-free now
*Provide first rate child care for shoppers, giving the parents (and other customers) serenity while they look around

For additional ideas about customer service–if you live within the continental United States–order my audio CD, “How to Give Magnificent Customer Care!” You’ll find it available in my Web site’s online store:

If you live outside the continental U.S., you can order my book–The Complete Communicator: Change Your Communication, Change Your Life!–from

Now. . .where did I put that water bottle?