The foundation for effective customer service is first and foremost a friendly, helpful attitude. But the real test of customer service occurs when things go off the rails. That’s when a friendly, helpful attitude can really be tested. Case in point . . . My experience a few days ago at the Oceanstone resort near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia.

We had checked in for one night. The suite we were given was very nice and the view of the ocean was incredible. There was just one problem; below the suite was the pump house for the spa and the pump emitted a constant drone until 11.00 pm and then resumed pumping at 7.00 am the next morning. Naturally, I complained. But that’s a long story that doesn’t need to be told here because the important point to be made is how the resort manager demonstrated customer service that could serve as a model for any business.

Here’s an excerpt from an email from the manager: “I appreciate you taking the time to bring these concerns to my attention, and I assure you that we take your feedback seriously. I want to express my sincere apologies for the disruption caused by the noise from the pump below the suite. Your experience does not align with the level of service and comfort we strive to provide our guests. I am sorry for any inconvenience and frustration this may have caused. We understand the importance of a peaceful and restful environment during your stay at Oceanstone. To compensate for the disruption, I would like to offer a 50% refund on your accommodation.”

No arguing. No hesitation. No passing the buck. A polite, sincere effort to address a problem. It’s how you ensure positive word-of-mouth and repeat customers.

That is a customer service masterclass.