Stop the ‘Creepy Crack’ in Your Customer Service!

Crash!!! The rock hit hard on the top of my car windshield, a rocketed gift from the giant truck I was following on the interstate. I could see the small crack it created right beneath the rear-view mirror. I realized it was not likely to remain as it started. Sure enough, two days later the two-inch crack was six inches long and starting to spider. Four days later the creepy crack had expanded to encompass both sides of my car windshield, not just the center where it started.

A week later I took my car in for its regular maintenance and the service tech at the dealership suggested I replace the windshield glass immediately. “That crack will just get bigger and bigger,” he told me. “And, at some point the issue will not be cosmetics; it will be your safety. It could one day end up in your face at 60 miles an hour.”

I replaced the front windshield.

Customers are like a windshield crack. A hiccup happens and there is small kink in your customer service reputation with them.

Another little irritant goes unattended and the crack begins to grow.

Then, another hiccup happens and the crack spiders.

Antennae now up high for tiny service foibles, customers now start spotting imperfections largely unnoticed before. And at some point, customers go away and you never get to hear about the tiny service crack that started their path to the exit door.

Fix the cracked “windshield” through which customers view your service. Let them witness your obvious commitment to customer service excellence. Be on a perpetual lookout for signs of customer discontent.

Unlike fine wine, service hiccups and customer disappointments will not get better with time. Never buy into the myth of “no news is good news” or “let sleeping dogs lie.”

Be assertive in your pursuit of customer candor and be agile in your urgency to repair problems and restore relationships. Remember: customers do not care how much you know until they know how much you care!

BONUS: Personal customer service can fix the biggest “cracks.” Click to learn more about  “Signature Service.

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Dr. Chip R. Bell is a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and innovative service. Global Gurus ranked him in 2018 the #2 keynote speaker in the world on customer service; #1 in North America. He also is the author of numerous national and international best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Magnetic Service, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and Customers as Partners. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

His newest customer service book is the award-winning, best-selling book Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.

Dr. Bell has appeared live on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, NPR Marketplace and his work has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company.


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