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Do You Provide Self-Service Or Full Service?

June 8, 2016

BlankVertSpace.8pixelsThe Inspirationblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The idea for this blog post began in an armchair.

I was slumped in same, sipping cold coffee and chewing on a ballpoint pen, scratchin’ out ideas for an assignment.

One idea didn’t quite work. So I jiggled it around, and stood it on its head.

It still didn’t work, but this cartoon popped out.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

little girl selling lemonade front yard full-serve 50 cents a glass or self-serve 25 cents a glass using garden hose

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highThe Nature Of ServiceBlankVertSpace.8pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.6pixels

Later, sipping the same coffee (reheated but cold again), I got to thinking about service– or what passes for it.

My conclusion: a lot of “service” is so poor, nonchalant, and/or half-hearted, it amounts
to self-service; as in: you’re on your own.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

You walk into a store and are ignored. Or you wind up talking to someone who knows less than you do.

You access a site and it’s a cluttered mess. Or it takes forever to load. Or it’s hard to navigate.

You hire someone to do a job. They don’t keep you informed. Finally they deliver something that’s not what you wanted.BlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixels

The list goes on and on. Everyone reading this post has a poor service story. Or 10. Or 20.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

little girl selling lemonade front yard full-serve 50 cents a glass

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highSelf-Service Vs. Full-ServiceBlankVertSpace.8pixelsBlankVertSpace.4pixelsBlankVertSpace.6pixels

I got thinking about good service as it relates to design and illustration.

Let’s agree that poor service = self-service (i.e., basically, you’re on your own).

Here’s how self-service compares to the real thing:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Self-Service: You found me by accident.

Full-Service: You found me because I’ve been recommended, and because I have a strong online presence (website, blog, social media).BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Self-Service: Sure, sure, I can do that for you, no problem.

Full-Service: This job isn’t a good match for me. But I can recommend someone else.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Self-Service: Trust me.

Full-Service: I inspire confidence because you can see my work samples and because I demonstrate my expertise by publishing on social media.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Self-Service: I can do this for you. Period.

Full-Service: I’ve outlined several options, along with corresponding deliverables and fees. Would be happy to discuss.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Self-Service: OK, I’ll get started.

Full-Service: As soon as you approve a certain option (deliverables and fee) and we agree on a delivery date, I’ll get started.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Self-Service: Silence.

Full-Service: Here’s a status report. I’ve attached a JPEG. Would appreciate your feedback on such-and-such.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Self-Service: Sorry this is late. Somebody else needed something.

Full-Service: I’ve hit a few snags– here’s a short summary. Could we move the delivery date back a bit?BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Self-Service: Here it is, hope it’s what you wanted.

Full-Service: Here are the deliverables. Any questions or concerns, please let me know. There are a few things we could do at this point that would add value. Details attached. Please let me know if you’re interested.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Self-Service: Silence.

Full-Service: Thank you for your business. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.BlankVertSpace.8pixels

Self-Service: Silence.

Full-Service: It’s been a few weeks. I just wanted to follow up here. Did everything work out to your satisfaction? Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
guy in shorts tank top looking at self-serve lemonade stand where you make your own using garden hose

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Got any lousy service horror stories you’d like to share? (please– no expletives!)

Anything you’d care to add to the comparison list? Please share your service expertise.

Ever made your own lemonade with a garden hose??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact informationblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2016 6:22 PM

    I’m going to have to upgrade my hat collection as they are all getting worn because of you! Chapeau once again, my friend!
    I’ve always been a ‘full-service’ person only [unfortunate] difference for the past 10+ years is that I’m getting [like most people of my profession in Greece] the ‘self-service’ treatment financially! 😉 Oh, well – who cares. We’ve got our ambrosia, who needs that flat and slimy green stuff, right?!
    Thanks again for your ingenuity, dearest Mark! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 9, 2016 9:31 AM

      My ears always prick up when I hear the cry “Chapeau!” because it means my favorite goddess is in the neighborhood– always cause for rejoicing!! 👸🏻😍👒👒👒👒👒🚀🌖💥🚕👽

      Thank you, dearest Marina! Yes, I know you’re a full-service person: in your vision, your art, your music, the emotional high of those who experience your work, and your elevation of world culture. Oh, I forgot: and your making Mt. Olympus a more colorful place because of all the paint splatters… 🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨🎨🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆😊

      Agreed: who needs flat, slimy, filthy lucre?? We have ambrosia and those nice little pillows on the table so when we overindulge, we don’t hurt ourselves when our heads go KLUNK! 🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨🍨💥💥

      Thank you, dear Marina, for your sweet-as-ambrosia comment! 🚀☁️#9😍🚑


      • June 9, 2016 2:45 PM

        I’ll drink to that!!!!! [pillow ready!] 🙂 Meantime I’ve updated my hat collection. Got to be prepared! 😉 🎩🎩🎩🎩🎩🎩🎩🎩👒🎓⛑👒⛑🎓

        Liked by 1 person

        • June 9, 2016 8:36 PM

          Whoa! Beaucoup chapeaux!! Je lève mon chapeau à vous, chère Marina! Et je lève un verre de ambrosia à votre beauté et de charme! J’ai la tête qui tourne! Est-il ambrosia ou Marina ?? Tous les deux! KLUNK!! 🎩🎩🎩🎩🍨🍨🍨🍨👒👒👒👒🍨🍨🍨🍨🎓🎓🎓🎓🍨🍨🍨🍨👑👑👑👑🍨🍨🍨🍨💥💥🚑🚑😊


        • June 10, 2016 3:48 AM

          A votre santé, monsieur!!!!!!! 😄😊😃🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

          Liked by 1 person

  2. RKLikesReeses permalink
    June 10, 2016 3:04 PM

    [enter your comment here]

    Haaaa! That’s ⬆ a self-service comment.

    Terrific post, Mark!! 👏 🙂


    • June 11, 2016 1:18 PM

      Haw! That’s not just self-service, that’s being proactive to the max!!

      I have inscribed your name on the Quipster Trophy => 🏆👏👏👏🎉🎊✨🎶🎳📰🎥🔔🔔🔔😊

      Many thanks, RK– and I hope it was OK to fill up that gold cup with Reeses Pieces!! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Margie permalink
    June 14, 2016 1:49 PM

    Your remark about walking into a store and being ignored – happens to me all the time, but I’m a grey haired grandma, which means I am invisible!
    My husband is not all that impressed about the growing trend of no-serve stores with self-serve tills. He thinks he should get a discount on his purchase because he did all the work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 15, 2016 7:08 AM

      Hi, Margie! Yes, it’s an odd thing: one is never invisible when some boring acquaintance wants to tell you about their recent operation, but go in a store and need help, and poof!– yer gone!

      Hey, I think The Car Guy may be onto something– this whole self-serve thing is probably a plot to enable stores to decrease staff so there’s even less help available!! What a devious world we live in… : )

      Always good to see you, Margie, thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. June 25, 2016 10:05 AM

    For wannabe cyclists, you can assess a bike store customer service on how far store staff will listen and bring out appropriate bikes. And they shouldn’t be judging you by your attire, gender, etc. But they do. Bike buying is certainly a retail experience that cannot be done online without in-store consultation first, and going for some short spins on several different bikes.


    • June 27, 2016 8:29 PM

      Sounds like mighty good advice, Jean, thank you. I know you can buy bicycles online these days, but it’s hard to imagine getting a good fit. Same thing with guitars. Trying to retrofit either is usually an exercise in frustration. Much more sensible to spend the time and money, do the necessary hands-on (and feet-on!) testing, and bring home something that works right from the start! : )


  5. March 11, 2018 9:34 AM

    Fantastic illustration !!! 🙂
    Recently, I had an awful customer service experience with a cab company. I was billed for 12,000 rupees instead of 2000 rupees. It was a technical error but I had to talk to a very rude customer support person for 45 minutes to get it fixed and it all happened before 7 AM in the morning!


    • March 16, 2018 3:08 PM

      My dear Vandy!! How utterly delightful to see you!– and to think you took that very long cab ride just to visit my blog… 🌍🚕👸🏼🌏💰💰💰💰💥🚑😊

      I’m very sorry for your bad customer experience. We’ve all had them, and they can really spoil your day– especially when they occur before 7 AM!! I can only assume, however, that your natural graciousness and charm rubbed off on the rude customer service person, and thus– on the great balance sheet of life– made the world a better place. Yup, that’s my theory, trust me, I know about these things… 👍😊



  1. Customer Service Should Be More Than Self-Service - Internet Marketing Tips

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