Is the art of conversation being lost through technology and causing bad service?

What has happening to customer service and common courtesy?

Courtesy - excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior. A courteous, respectful, or considerate act or expression.

Customer service -is the process of ensuring customer satisfaction with a product or service. Often, customer service takes place while performing a transaction for the customer, such as making a sale or returning an item. Customer service can take the form of an in-person interaction, a phone call, self-service systems, or by other means.

I am sure you can attest that you can easily receive 20 – 50 (or more) emails per day, and may only read a quarter of them well and skim the rest. By the end of the day you probably have missed a few important emails which should have been read and responded too.

I have been known to be guilty of emailing a colleague sitting three desks down, instead of getting off my…. and going to speak to them directly. (I have improved since Istarted tracking my steps per day –changing of my mindset).

How many emails could be a quick phone call or a walk to colleague’s desk? How many misunderstandings could be avoided? Emotions cannot be expressed in emails (one sentence can be read with different inflections which in turn makes it have multiple meanings).

The art of conversation is being lost. The loss of this important skill amongst homosapiens I believe is one of the reasons service is slowly deteriorating.

We are losing the capabilities of being able to read body language and tone of voice as there are fewer conversations happening on a daily basis. This in turn is leading to an extremely politically correct society, as we cannot distinguish what is a joke or not. It is very easy to offend someone now a days because I believe this skill is lacking. Which in turn can hurt service within and outside of your office.

Service in large organizations are also moving more and more to an automated service on the telephone and in their stores.

There seem to be more self-service machines than employees at manylocations. I am not against self-service but getting the right balance is the trick.

Corporations need to realize quickly that consumers have choices and with social media word of good service or bad service is spread quickly. Consumers are starting to place more and more emphasis on service and I believe are willing to pay a little more for it. When a consumer makes the ‘effort’ to walk into a store they are generally looking for human interaction and a conversation.

Little things can make a big difference in the mindset of a consumer. I recently received excellent customer service from Turkish Airlines who definitely go the extra mile. Some of the ‘extra’ little things they did:   They had special treats for the children, gave bottles of water to the passengers when they switched off the lights (not just filling up a small cup), all passengers received a hot towel when boarding (not just business class), all passengers received a piece of Turkish Delight, and the most important part…All the Stewards will friendly.

I have since shared my experience with my friends, and will look to fly with them again. I have also had an opposite experience with an airline and have not flown with them for over 10 years, and have never referred them business.

What are the answers? If I had them I would be writing books and not an article, however I do have a few suggestions. Good service starts with common courtesy (with your colleagues and clients) and appreciating your clients.


    • Have more conversations and fewer emails
    • Return voice messages within 24 hrs.(max 2 days)
    • Respond to ALL email requests within 24 hrs. (max 2 days) -DO NOT REPLY TO ALL if multiple people on email
    • Respond to all invitations prior to the RSVP date (even if not going)
  • Say thank you and please


  • Don’t have your phone 'out' while having a conversation (definitely no texting)
  • Turn off your phone ‘ringer’ when in meetings
  • If you have someone coming to your office, and your current appointment is running long let your next appointment know (e.g. would it not be nice if your doctor's office called/ text you to let you know they are running late and please come 30 min later) Treat everyone's time with respect.
  • If you are on vacation, have an out of office message on your voicemail and email
  • Be on time to your meetings (aim to be 10 minutes early)
  • Staff correctly (you will lose more business if you do not)
  • When interacting with someone: Relate/ Listen/ Check-in
  • Sometimes you got to spend money to make money
  • Technology is great, but don’t let it take over. Most ‘things’ can be done online. If a consumer walks into a branch/ shop etc. they are looking for the human ‘touch’
  • Hand write a thank you note
  • Say Hello and have a nice day (with a smile)
  • Customer Service: no gum, no drinks on counters, no rolled up sleeves, answer phone 2 rings (2 ring policy) Customer Service Customer Service
  • Teach your children early about the art of conversation (no technology at the dinner table)
  • Train Train Train your people
  • Keep improving.

“Choose to deliver amazing service to your customers. You’ll stand out because they don’t get it anywhere else.” –Kevin Stirtz

“No one is more insufferable than he who lacks basic courtesy.” - Bryant H. McGill