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  Service Stars

A gas company representative who educated a customer on home heating

Satisfactory customer service is seldom memorable. What is memorable is poor service and service that goes the extra mile. Sometimes it only takes a small gesture to change a routine customer service experience into one we will recall months later, we will tell others about and will cause us to become repeat customers. Those who do those little extras are truly Service Stars.

I can sum up my knowledge of home heating in a few words.  Turn the thermostat one way and the temperature will rise; turn it the other way and the temperature drops.  Change the furnace filter regularly, and once a year, invite the gas company to do a safety inspection.  That’s pretty much everything I know.

My first question when the ATCO Gas representative arrived was pretty simple:  “Should I hang around or would you like me to stay out of your way?”  Dan left the choice up to me, adding that if I stayed he would provide an explanation of what he was doing, along with some safety tips and ways to reduce energy use.  I decided to stay.

He began by establishing his credentials.  He had two trade tickets, as a plumber and as a gas fitter, and he was a long time gas company employee.  He clearly had more knowledge and experience than I did.  I could trust what he said.

As he opened the furnace cover to peer and reach in, he explained what he was doing and indicated problems that might be associated with a 30 year old furnace.  He described the differences between older and newer furnaces and why newer models used less energy.  He reminded me to inspect and replace the filter regularly and emphasized that furnaces should be inspected annually and that the inspections were free.

Over his career Dan has likely inspected hundreds of furnaces.  For him, it is a routine process that likely could be completed more quickly if the homeowners simply left him alone.  What makes Dan’s service stand out is his willingness and ability to educate people, such as myself, with easy-to-understand explanations.

Dan understands, as all service providers should, that what is routine to him is a mystery to the rest of us.  As customers, we appreciate service providers – be they mechanics, health care providers, government bureaucrats, bankers or teachers – who explain what they are doing and why.  Knowledge makes us all more comfortable with the process and more confident in the service provider.


Nelson Scott offers several Customer Service Presentations, including Customer Service MAGIC: Changing Complainers into Loyal Customers; What Your Mother Taught You About Customer Service and other Training Resources developed by Service Quality Institute and the Vital Learning Corporation.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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