Dreadful Customer Service

Dreadful customer service is what I experienced when I
charted a Sarasota fishing boat a few days after Christmas.

The plan was simple and was designed to provide six people
with fun, fish, and of course a few good fishing stories.

I invited my father, Rudy, my brother-in-law, my niece, her
boyfriend, one of my neighbors and with me we had our group
of six.

We hired a 41 foot custom Fitz Sportfisherman. It should
be noted that it was not inexpensive. It was $650 plus
a 20% tip for the four hours in the sun on the Gulf.

The boat was scheduled between 1 PM and 5 PM and we were
told to be there 15 minutes early. We arrived 30 minutes
early. Don't forget I wrote the book, "57 Ways To Take
Control Of Your Time And Your Life

FYI - here's the link:

The boat showed up at 1 PM from the morning charter.
They were late and there were no apologies.

We finally left the dock at 1:35 PM. We took a five
minute detour to stop for cigarettes for the Captain and
his first mate.

Both the captain and the first mate looked like they had
worn the same T-shirts and cutoffs for days.

Simply dreadful customer service.

My father and I over the years both had boats of our own.
His was a 36 foot and mine was a 26 foot cabin cruiser. I
bring this up because I know from personal experience how
slippery a wet boat deck can be. Our Captain and first
mate both were shoeless. This is an accident waiting to

They were careless and couldn't care less!

In fact the Captain did his best to demonstrate his nautical
skills by steering the boat with his shoeless feet - what a
sight. Actually it made me want to puke.

Another example of dreadful customer service.

At the start of the fishing trip I told the Captain I was
building a website about Siesta Key Florida. I said, "Show
us a good time today and I will feature your boat and services
prominently on my new website." He said not convincingly,
"I'll show you a good time today."

Neither the Captain or the first mate asked us a single

In this situation they could have established lots of
rapport by asking questions like:

"Where are you folks from?"

"What kind of fish are you most interested in today?"

"What kind of fishing trips have you taken in the past?"

"Who in the group has ever owned a boat?" That would've
gotten Rudy talking up a storm.

Once again - they couldn't care less.

They both smoked continuously. My brother-in-law, Danny,
just quit smoking five months earlier.

Whenever the first mate had to repair a hook or replace the
bait he oftentimes had to cut off some fishing line. Guess
where the cut lines ended up - yup right over the transom
into the Gulf of Mexico. That's a no-no!

On a boat, a bathroom is called the head. The head on this
boat had no running water. Yuk!

The head on this boat also had no toilet paper. My niece
really appreciated this oversight. He stopped for cigarettes,
why couldn't he pick up some toilet paper? Double yuk!

Still another example of dreadful customer service.

The captain said 80% of his business was repeat. He also said
his business was down. His business isn't down because of the
economy - it's down because he has no clue how to treat his
paying customers.

The captain also didn't explain the tipping policy. It turns
out the first mate's earnings are 100% dependent on the tips
he gets.

They just had attitudes - unfortunately the wrong kind.

We ended up catching six good-sized fish. The trip back to
the dock gave us a spectacular sunset to watch - so all was
not lost. We made the best of the worst!

If little things mean everything what the captain and his
first mate offered was indeed very little.

In fact that's why I'm writing this letter.

There's a lesson here for all of us.

It's not what you think about what you do.

It's not what you think about the service you're providing.

It's not what you think about how good you are.

It's not what you think that matters at all.

In fact what matters most in most businesses, charter fishing
boats, is what the customer thinks. Plain and simple.

This customer thinks this Captain and his first mate should
explore a new line of work that doesn't involve any contact
with customers period.

Like washing Lighthouse windows off the coast of Maine in
the winter. There are more than 60 lighthouses along Maine's
craggy down east peninsulas. A perfect fit!

There is never any excuse for dreadful customer service.

Good service gets rewarded and dreadful service gets penalized
and that's the way it's supposed to be.

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