A dearth of customer service

I live in a small place – a ‘micro city’ to be exact.  It’s a beautiful place – the quality of living is fairly high.  The city is especially green in the summer, the bike trails are plentiful, and it’s a very safe community.  We run a vibrant, world-class music festival every fall.  And it’s such a clean place – SO clean.

Amidst all of these great things, there’s something that I continually notice: there seems to be a dearth of customer service.  Like a real dearth of it.

Don’t get me wrong – there are places here that have absolutely superb customer service. In particular, the microbrew scene on the east coast seems to have really gotten the memo that people want to hang out in welcoming places that offer great products or services.  But what about the rest of them?

And why does this trend exist?

Do I notice it more because there are fewer places to choose from, and bad service just really stands out?  Or do establishments feel that they don’t need to focus on service because there is very little competition?  Once you stake out a claim in the market, it’s fairly easy to stay there, especially if the market has a barrier to entry – such as the cost of setting up a restaurant or gym.

Disruption seems like the word of the day.

The taxi industry was expensive, ripe with rude drivers and inconvenience.  Perfect ground for disruption.

The hotel industry was becoming expensive, ridden with bedbugs, and bad management.  Another perfect ground for disruption.

How can we disrupt smaller communities to improve their customer service?  To make it win-win for their bottom lines by better serving their existing customers – whether they are ‘hostages’ in the terms of having very little else to choose from, or not.

When we’re friendly and generous, every body wins.


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