Customer Service Training TIps

Is your busy-ness turning people off?

Here’s a valuable lesson on dealing with stressed customers I discovered when I was asked to speak last year at the national convention of the Funeral Service Association. In preparing, I interviewed several of Canada’s most respected funeral professionals, one of whom shared this surprisingly simple, powerful tip…

You know how when people ask, How are you?, one of the most common replies is some version of busy, as in: I’m busy, we’re slammed, I’m swamped. While those responses may be somewhat accurate, they are often said – sometimes unconsciously –  to convey:

a. That’s right, we are really successful around here (humble brag).
b. I’m a hardworking person and you should be impressed.
c. Whatever you’re about to request of me, be warned I’ll probably resist and or resent it. 

Now, imagine a loved one passes away, and you have the painful burden of initiating the arrangements. How might you feel if the funeral rep you talk with mentions how he or she is so busy? I suspect that at minimum you’d be concerned that the rep might be so distracted that they might not give your departed and their friends/ family the care they deserve. Just because of a thoughtless remark about being busy.

What if instead, that employee took the advice of Jeff Hagel, President of McInnis & Holloway funerals… He explained to me, “I remind my team members, we are never ‘busy’. We sometimes have full days. But we always have the time and attention for customers in need.”

Seems to me that advice is not only good for speaking with customers, it’s also a reminder of how we speak to ourselves. Instead of feeling like we are burdened with busyness, perhaps we should think of our days as being full.

Bottom line, our stressed customers, co-workers, and families don’t really want to hear us brag/ complain about how busy we are. And we may not be doing ourselves any favours with that kind of self-talk either.



Was this helpful?   You’ll find more of Jeff’s Trusted Advisor Customer Service tips on How to Improve Customer Service here or subscribe to receive a new Business Building Tip every two weeks and stay up to date on all our upcoming events.

You can find more of Jeff’s training resources under Shop or should you be interested in having Jeff present a customized presentation for your organization contact Jeff at [email protected]

Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, award-winning speaker, and best-selling author. To inquire about engaging Jeff for your team visit


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Influence with Ease by Jeff Mowatt
Influence with Ease
 – You already know that whatever your message, customers and coworkers are persuaded – not by your title – but by how much they trust you.  Jeff shares 30-second tips that strengthen trust in virtually all of your communications.


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