Most customers feel that organisations are solely responsible for all their service...

Most customers feel that organisations are solely responsible for all their service failures. However, organisations feel that customers must take some of the blame when it comes to service failures. How do I support this argument as an organisation?


According to N‘lighten’s customer experience specialist, Brendon Bairstow-Klopper, organisations should always be seen to take full responsibility for delivering excellent customer service.

“While there are certainly situations where customers play a part in their negative service experiences – whether through their own errors, poor communication skills, or negative attitude – attempting to ‘blame’ customers for bad service makes very poor business sense however you look at it. And it will negatively impact on the organisation’s reputation.”

However, Bairstow-Klopper says customers and organisations can most certainly be ‘partners’ in customer experience creation. “If customers are apathetic in the face of poor service, their lack of feedback can actually limit the organisation from knowing how to create the type of service or experience they desire.

Customers can, and should, be making an effort to provide input and feedback regarding their service desires and experiences.” He adds that organisations need to make sure they provide their customers with every opportunity to do this. “It could also be argued that customers can help create a good service experience by approaching a poor service situation in a non-confrontational way.

Unfortunately, this is not always possible, as the moment of service failure could be the culmination of a ‘bad day’ coming on the back of a string of bad experiences elsewhere. Organisations need to be aware of this possibility, understand that the customer’s irritation may not exclusively be directed at them, and empathise with customers as much as possible.”

He believes customers can help create the service experiences they want by making sure they communicate what they want and what they are actually experiencing. This requires a willingness to put in the effort to complain, compliment, and offer constructive feedback wherever possible. Then it’s really up to the organization to act on this feedback.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.