What I Learned This Summer

The Experience Matters When It Comes To Customer Service

I finally had a chance to travel overseas this year! My wife and I visited London and Scotland and really enjoyed seeing so many amazing places and historic sites. I even had a chance to visit and play some golf at the birthplace of the sport – St. Andrews.

There were many differences between my culture and the cultures I visited. Most of the time they were subtle things, like phrases used or driving on the other side of the road. Learning how to not get hit by a car when crossing a street is a lesson you must learn very fast – it seems that London drivers do NOT stop for pedestrians. Because the cars are on the opposite side of the road, it’s easy to take a step out on a street without looking behind you for a car!

My professional life has always centered on creating the best experience for my customers and helping other businesses do the same. During my travels, I became very aware of the different level of service offered when we ate in restaurants or pubs. Often, no one waited on you in the UK. Instead, you found an open table, looked at a menu to decide what you wanted, and walked up to the bar to place and pay for your order. Although your order was brought to your table, it was rare that anyone would check back to see if you needed something else during your meal.

The interesting flip side to this was that tipping for service was not expected. In fact, when I first left a couple pounds on a bar after receiving my drink, the bartender brought it back to me. When I explained that I left it for him, he acted as though it were Christmas.

Maybe I’m just used to the way things are in the USA, but my experience in the UK left me feeling a bit indifferent about dining out. Even though I learned to save my tip money, I missed the service that we experience back home. Looking back on the entire trip, I would say that there were no special memories in our dining experiences and that I never left a restaurant wishing to return. It wasn’t that it was a bad experience, it just wasn’t great.

To me, this confirms what I believe is a core element of great business – the experience. Yes, the product (in this case, the food) matters, but it is not everything. I might even argue that it isn’t even the most important thing. I believe that great service is what really creates a memorable experience.

“The product (in this case, the food) matters, but it is not everything…great service is what really creates a memorable experience.”

As custom framers, building a great product is important. However, the experience involved in shopping for that product is often just as important to our clients. If we make the experience and level of service a great one, chances are we will build loyal, repeat customers. Great service includes showing your clients the chance to see the talent you offer them. Without fantastic samples that showcase your ability, clients will not get the full experience of choosing designs that are truly unique. If you don’t offer conservation grade products to them, you could be depriving your client of something they never considered but would like to have.

My time overseas proved to me that a great experience is more than the product I receive. Just as important is the service and attention to detail that accompanies that product.


  1. Hi Ken, nice article. Reminds me of the same thing when we go back to Italy. Customers service is not there no one priority.

    • Thank you Joe. That’s what I love about travel- all the little differences in the cultures. Hope to get to Italy someday soon!

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