Customer service is an important function of most businesses and most of them take it seriously, but there are some that just brush off their customers.

The statistic quoted when I was in college was that it takes 10 new customers to take the place of one lost customer. It is six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs (

Telephone customer service is not what it used to be. A few years ago, one would call and get a pleasant-sounding person who wanted to help resolve the caller's issue. It seems these days that callers (often) reach a surly person who doesn't care whether the issue is resolved.

For example, my mother paid her Southern California Automobile Club dues for the coming year in early June. A week later, she received a letter stating that since she hadn't paid her membership that AAA would cover her car emergencies for 30 days but charge her for any services received.

She checked with the bank and the payment had cleared, so she went to the bank and got a copy of the electronic fund transfer, and mailed it per their request. The proof of payment from the bank still didn't clear up the matter. After numerous phone calls and hours on the phone, she finally got a young man who took the time to locate her payment; her AAA membership money had been applied to her homeowner's insurance.

Why did it take so long to locate her payment? Because no one else cared enough to take the time to really look.

If at all possible, it is better to go into the place of business and get the matter resolved face to face. If the only option is calling, be kind to the person on the phone as people (usually) try harder to help those who are kind. Also, if you get a rude person, thank them for their time and hang up. Call back later. You may get a nicer person.

We have two customer call service centers here in Crestview. I expect they provide outstanding service.

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.