I received a kitchen towel as a hospitality gift and the whole hem frayed the first time I washed it. Fortunately, it was from Kohl’s – a store that highlights its generous return policy — so I took it back for an even exchange.

Much to my surprise, the customer service manager said: “Oh, they all do that. I bought some myself and they all frayed. We can return it once for you but that is all; there will be no receipt with this exchange.”

I was stunned. Essentially, they know they sell junk – for $8 — but they do it anyway. Without apology.

The bar for customer service is getting lower all the time — but you can do better. Just by having your employees practice the words: “I’m sorry” and insisting they say the phrase to customers when something goes awry can go a long way in making you a provider of choice.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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