Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

We Can’t Do Anything About It

September 25, 2022

by Robert Stevenson

That is what their customer service representative said to me: “We can’t do anything about it.” Did the person who made that statement understand the full consequences of what they just said? Did they understand an eleven-year relationship was getting ready to be terminated? I’ll give you an even better question than that … Did they really care? What does that statement really mean? What is that person really saying to us? Mr. or Ms. Customer … “Good luck. You’re on your own” … “You are just going to have to deal with it.”

“We can’t do anything about it.” They shouldn’t have said that. That six-word sentence destroyed the possibility of me ever working with them again; just six words destroyed an eleven-year relationship. I was FORCED to go out on a search, calling experts to FIND a solution and I found one. They had me up and running in no time. I also have one person who I can call, who I know by name, who handles my account, and he has 24/7/365 back-up, just in case I can’t reach him instantly.

It costs a lot more to obtain a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. I have seen the cost figures range from 3 to 30 times as much, depending on the industry; so, six words just got very expensive. The amount of effort it takes to build a strong business relationship is enormous. The amount of effort it takes to destroy that relationship can be as little as six spoken words.

If you lose a long-term customer, go find out why. Don’t send them a survey or an email – call them or go see them. You might not get them back, but at least you’ll understand why you lost them … so, hopefully you won’t make the same senseless mistake again.

Words are a valuable resource to any company depending on how they are used. What is so profound about that statement is how something can be so valuable that is free? The right words can make new customers and keep existing customers coming back. The wrong words can kill opportunities and destroy relationships. The right words can make customers your best form of advertising. The wrong words can make customers your biggest critics. One of the keys to success in business is knowing what to say and what not to say.

If you are in management, you better know what your CSR’s are saying on the phone. You better have RULES of what NOT TO EVER SAY. It makes no sense to spend money advertising for clients and then spend more money to land those clients … only to run them off with six words. That is NUTS.

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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