Goodwill Hunting

Goodwill takes a long time to build; bad will takes just a moment.

If you’re in the customer service business, you know that customer satisfaction, enthusiasm, and loyalty are not instantaneous. What is customer service? It is goodwill is built over time and through several acts of kindness.

Unfortunately, months of goodwill can be destroyed by three seconds of sarcasm or one thoughtless remark. It’s like the sign at the gas station during the week of the high school reunion, “Welcome Home, Alumni.” Under it was written “No out-of-town checks accepted.” This will definitely not improve customer service.

Building Goodwill

To have good customer service skills, you need to be building goodwill with your customers.  Ask yourself two questions every day. First, how can I make my customers feel pleased, surprised, or special today? Your customers can probably purchase your goods or services somewhere else, but not everyone else is consciously trying to make their customers feel pleased, surprised, or special.

Avoiding Bad Will

Second, what turns off my customers? You’ve got to know what turns off your customers and then not do any of those things. You can’t make missteps or misstatements, like the ad I saw at an auto dealership, which read “Why go anywhere else and get cheated when you can come here?” Remember, bad will takes just a moment.


Fill in the blank: “I impress my customers when _________.” Now do at least one of those things with every customer you meet today.