Your Customer Service Quality Is As Good As Your Weakest Link

When it comes to customer service quality, every link in the chain matters. If one is weak, the lasting impressions customers receive might not be as good as they could be.

An example of how weak links can impact customer service quality was demonstrated to me courtesy of an airline chain. I flew to Fiji from Singapore via Australia, requesting vegetarian meals throughout. But not a single vegetarian dish was provided.

What’s unusual is that I checked and rechecked every step of the way: by telephone before departure, at check-in in Singapore, at the First Class Lounge in Sydney, aboard the airplane to Fiji, with airline staff on the ground in Fiji, during check-in at the Fiji airport, and once again in the Lounge in Sydney on the way home.

Every step of the way my special meals were “confirmed.” I even received boarding passes issued from the airlines with “VGML” (for “vegetarian meal”) printed in bold.

The strangest experience was the last. As I boarded for the flight from Sydney back to Singapore, I asked the steward about my special meal. He confirmed before take-off, “Yes, Mr. Kaufman. Vegetarian. It’s in the record.”

But during the meal service hours later he came back and said, “We thought we had the meal on board, but it is not here. Would you mind the chicken or fish?” (I ate the fruit.)

This whole experience was more entertaining than upsetting, but it certainly got me thinking. The travel agent, telephone reservations staff, check-in agent and cabin crew are not “responsible” for catering on the aircraft. But they do rely upon their partners to deliver. When they don’t, customer service quality suffers.

Key Learning Point For Customer Service Quality

When a customer assesses your business, you are only as good as your weakest link.

Action Steps For Customer Service Quality

Which is the weakest service link in your organization? You may think it’s not in your department, hence not your problem. Think again. Everyone is responsible for customer service quality.


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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

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