Categories : Communication Customer Service De-escalation Difficult Situation Relationship Building Retention Training


Have you ever been out to eat and had a terrible customer-service experience and as you are leaving, the host or hostess asks if everything was fine? And you reply with an affirmative answer or head nod? I think most of us have done that at least once, or more.

Oftentimes the follow-up to that interaction though is to tell others about your awful restaurant experience!

The bottom line is this: Fine Just Isn’t Good Enough in the World Today!

Here are five tips on why it’s important to understand the meaning of “fine!”

Tip. No. 1. Don’t assume that customers are implying they are satisfied when they say everything is fine. Sixty-five to 85 percent of customers who say they are satisfied with service actually switch or would switch to the competition.

Tip. No. 2. When people give “fine” as their response, they’re sometimes avoiding the truth. What they often mean is things were not well or unsatisfactory.

Tip No. 3. Don’t settle for your customers checking the “satisfied” box on your satisfaction surveys. You could have a real problem and not even know it.

Tip No. 4. Customers’ expectation levels are changing. Meeting their needs is simply not enough in today’s business environment. Your service needs to exceed their expectations! You must continually look for ways to surprise and delight them if you want to stay even with or beat the competition.

Tip No. 5. The next time a customer tells you that their experience with your utility was “fine,” send him or her a meaningful message and ask what could have been done differently for them to have responded with “great.” This kind of feedback will help you identify opportunities for improvement, which can only help strengthen your relationship with them.


David Saxby is president of Measure-X, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based measurement, training and recognition company that specializes in customer service and sales skills training for utilities.