What Happened To 5 Star Service?

Regular readers know I love brilliant customer service.  

I wrote a book on it. 

I’ve trained over 100,000 people on how to deliver it. 

I’ve consulted with some of the best organisations in the world on how to create it. 

And you know how much I avoid negativity. 


What the heck has happened to 5 Star Service? 

Last weekend Christine and I travelled to London. You’d think high street retail would be delighted to have shoppers, ready to spend, come through their doors.


If you’re a retailer have a word with your staff and tell them that a smile and a ‘good morning’ goes a long way when somebody walks into your store.  

Transport is packed.  

Train journeys are taking longer.  

And the prices have gone through the roof. 

But that doesn’t stop some crew members on our train from taking pleasure in reprimanding passengers for putting their bags in the wrong place or questioning the possibility of a vacant seat. 

Royal Mail used to be pretty good. Now, even paying for next day delivery doesn’t seem to ensure your package arrives on time.

And if you do make a claim, they add countless hoops and hurdles to put you off claiming the £11.50 you’re due. 

That’s the Victor Meldrew bit over. 

Let’s flip it.   

Let’s look at this as a brilliant opportunity. 

If customer service is getting worse, just think how much you will stand out by being better? 

When a customer leaves because of bad service they rarely tell the supplier.  

When a customer stays because of good service they rarely tell anyone.  

Sorry. It’s called getting what you paid for.  

But, when you craft five-star customer experiences not only do you build amazing loyalty, but you also create raving fans.

And they talk.  

I’ll prove it.  

Let’s finish this on a positive.  I’d love to know who is providing brilliant levels of service. 

Leave your comments below and I’ll send a copy of my book – 5 Star Service to our favourite contributor. 

Be Brilliant! 


PS Monday evening at 7pm (UK) I’m hosting a free webinar for new and experienced writers called The 5 Keys to Publishing Every Author Should Know. 

I’m also going to reveal the winners of our current Write That Book Challenge and share the details of the next Write That Book Masterclass (It starts on 25th May. It’s going to be the best – ever! And there are a few surprises too).

To register for a free place on the Webinar just click here.




  1. April 7th 2022 by Elleesa

    Document Supply at University of Bedfordshire. They are tenacious, timely and go the extra to track down even the most obscure material.

  2. April 7th 2022 by Wendy Errington

    I have to say my daughter who works in hospitality in a big store in Newcastle. She has such a lovely way with her customers. And regulars come in & ask for her.
    She has just been accepted on their management training programme. I am so proud of her. She left school with two GCSEs and at age 33 now look at her. It’s never too late.
    Your book would be an ideal gift to her. I’m sure she would love to read it. She is always striving to do better.

  3. April 7th 2022 by Gaynor Weatherley

    How true only saying people with own business are the only ones left with customer service their livelihoods depend on it no one else gives a sh…..t. On the flip side the customer is not always right a lot of them are just Dicks ! Smile 😊

  4. April 7th 2022 by Mrs. Debra Gledhill

    The WTB Challenge is everything I hoped for. It has challenged me to think about aspects I had disregarded, points I should have seen, and highlighted the things I need to strengthen, shorten or omit. My finished book will be all the richer for everything Michael Heppell has shown me, including expanding on what I thought was possible and inspiring self-belief, and motiving me to be better. Thank you, Michael Heppell.

  5. April 7th 2022 by Martin Beeson

    AGL the electricity provider in Austalia moving house and changing the electricity bill used to be a PITA Pain in the area. With emails and phone call and then sometimes days when it still wasnt connected or you were using someone elses power and the needed a new meter reading. But now you go on the AGL website. Click the button that says I am moving home and it all done and switched over at the agreed time. The leccy meters are even smart and never need reading (used to be a job that…) you can see your usage and how much solar you are pumping in on the app. Very clever and service as it should be unfussy. Do what they say. They don’t go the extra mile as that would be annoying. It’s just electricity. Don’t send me a hamper and an electric toothbrush. Just make sure its easy and as promised.

  6. April 7th 2022 by Martin Beeson

    Do I win $5.00? If I had a dollar for every time I had posted a comment on this website…

  7. April 7th 2022 by Joan Hayward

    We are getting 5 star service from Greggs. We are retired and don’t go out much. My clubbing days are well and truly over! Our treat is breakfast from Greggs. We go quite often and now, when the staff see our car , by the time we’ve parked up and arrived at the counter, our breakfast is waiting. So, no queuing for us. Lol. 5 star treatment I think 😁

  8. April 7th 2022 by Karen Macdonald

    I wanted to buy Microsoft Office 365 for Mac to put on the computer owned by the charity that I volunteer for. I was having difficulty logging into Microsoft itself but saw a Wowcher deal for it and thought it seemed a good way to go as it would save the charity some money. However, the deal failed to download although Wowcher had taken my money! I was very downhearted about it all as there was no easy way to contact them by phone or email. They do however have a WhatsApp option, chatting with a “Bot”. I was extremely skeptical, especially when the bot told me he could only give me a credit note and that if I needed a refund he would need to put me into a queue where someone would respond (hopefully) in 24 hours. I waited anxiously, but sure enough, 24 hours and 31 minutes later, a real person responded and my money will be refunded to my original payment method, and an email came from the real person. That’s technology working at its best. I gave them 10/10!!

  9. April 7th 2022 by Susan Goodbrand

    Hi, Michael!!!
    I LOVE your books and I may have mentioned the effect, 5-star Service, had on a young waitress, a few years ago.
    I regularly used to spend several days at a time at a lovely hotel in Bristol.
    I’d just bought your book and was reading it waiting for my order to be taken, in the restaurant.
    The waitress eventually came, looking less than happy and asked, “What do you want?”. I smiled at her, gave my order and asked her a question about the particular fish…..
    Bless her, she sighed and rolled her eyes as she replied and rushed off before I had a chance to respond.
    I carried on reading the book, until I saw the first part of my meal being brought to my table! I placed the book on the table, positioned so she could read the title of it.
    As she put my plate down, in front of me, I saw her glance at the book!!
    When she came back to collect my plate….a transformation had happened!!
    She was smiling, as she approached and enquired, quite animatedly, how my meal was, did I require a dessert, adding that the sticky toffee pudding was ‘yummy’. I capitulated and as she left my table, I saw her happily having a few words with each of her diners.
    Her new persona continued until I’d finished my meal.
    The following evening, back in the restaurant, she rushed over to take my order and suggested a couple of the dishes…..WOW!!!
    I’m CONVINCED that just seeing the title of your book, made that difference.
    When I returned a month later, she told me that she’d been made Team Leader in the restaurant and thanked me for having that book on the table – so much so, she went straight out and bought it the day after seeing it.

  10. April 7th 2022 by Lesley Renault

    When doing science parties you have to be fun, practical (doing experiments), have a WOW factor, and give the birthday child and parents the best time.
    This is 5 star service.

  11. April 7th 2022 by Noel Wincote

    I don’t think five-star service has gotten worse In respect to the people you meet it is the lack of training and the companies that frighten and through lack of training have this hold over you, like not having a contract of employment that should protect the individual, it’s a shame.

  12. April 7th 2022 by Marilyn

    Esposito’s cafe, Runcorn Hill, ten minutes from where I live. Customer Service good on every occasion. This morning I had a gym workout and went for lunch on the way home. I wasn’t sure what to eat and was looking for a suggestion. Thai soup was recommended. It was delicious. The staff know me well. I am here at least once a week but the best thing is, every customer is special. Love the place.

  13. April 7th 2022 by Diane

    Where I work at one of my schools one of the maintenance team is always really helpful and pleasant if something has broken or is faulty or I’m not sure of anything he always puts it right and he does it without moaning without delay and always with a smile
    Very pleasant 5 star person

  14. April 7th 2022 by Nigel Bentley

    It perhaps comes as no surprise that 5-star Service is not what one usually receives when dealing with most of the statutory authorities or the like. Recently however I can report some excellent service from British Telecom (gasp of surprise) when there was a problem with a new fibre-optic line within our area. Suddenly a connection had failed causing our broadband to disappear for about 20 hours. The good news was that it was all sorted out very quickly indeed. 5-Star achieved.
    The opposite side of the coin was true when in two situations locally in dealings with South East Water. One was one I had direct experience with; and one recently reported very humourously by a friend in our area. In both cases water leaks had been reported to South East Water and over many weeks or months that company had been trying to avoid responsibility for leaks in the ground. They said they had tested the water that was bubbling up and found from their divination that no chlorine existed! It couldn’t possibly be theirs, said in both instances.
    It was eventually found that it was due to water main leaks. One of those leaks had gone on for at least 8 months to some degree. So the amount of water lost was …

    So the final score is :
    5-Star Service 1 : System Failed 2

  15. April 7th 2022 by Chimene Felton

    Just back from a much needed holiday and the 2 flights couldn’t have been more different – outbound the cabin staff were exceptional (and we told them) attentive service throughout the flight, they remembered what we were drinking and offered it without being asked. Polite, efficient, attentive, friendly and smiley. The return flight couldn’t have been more different – weren’t really fussed that the TV screen kept rebooting (one of those things!), drinks/food literally thrown at you with their best scowl and breakfast …. well, they started to ‘serve’ this with 40 minutes to go until we landed. We were the last row to be served and they were asking (telling) us to put our tray tables up as we were about to land – I was still eating!! Personally I think they must have all gone to sleep on their break and forgot! Opposite sides of the coin, guess they didn’t want to be returning to the cold UK as well! Staff when we were away were exemplary though and we told them – always a smile, even with a mask on – I think they’d been told to close their eyes slightly to let people know they were smiling, and we did.

  16. April 7th 2022 by Michelle Stewart

    I want all my customers to feel like they are special and that they are treated like friends. A smile goes such a long way to make people feel welcome.

  17. April 7th 2022 by Heather

    Well, here is a slightly different slant on 5 star service – I LOVE the service you generally get here in the UK!! Not to be toooo negative, but in my ex-home country (I think I won’t name it) if you post something, even using registered mail, chances are fair that it won’t reach its destination, either through mismanagement, laziness, someone fancied your package so nicked it or whatever. The PO is closing branches as they can’t/don’t pay their rent. There is virtually no train service as criminals steal the railway tracks and sell them as scrap metal. I could go on but I won’t. I’m still blown away by living in the first world! Yay!

  18. April 7th 2022 by Diane Hull

    AKW Medi-Care Limited – I placed an order online for a fitted shower seat. The order was acknowledged 2 minutes later by a very pleasant email thanking me for my order and giving precise details of the delivery date and time. I was able to track the time and position of the package. At exactly 1.38pm ( the time quoted) l received a phone call from a very polite man saying that there was no one at home; the builder who was taking delivery had been delayed. The delivery driver calmly arranged to leave the package with a neighbour, filling in all the authoity forms and obtaining consent. He was at all times courteous and polite and was happy to help. My neighbour confirmed that he was pleasant and helpful.

  19. April 7th 2022 by Alastair Arthur Tallis

    A local tradesman new to the carpentry world provides us with excellent customer service (Daniel Jenkins). He arrives on time, smiles, says hello, is open and honest about jobs, sticks to timescales and if unable too he is quick to resolve it. After years of poor service from tradesman coming to our home he has restored our faith they actually exist. A year after he completed a job and something went wrong (nothing large) he popped out within a few hours to fix it for free. He’s signposted us, always engages with any visitors whilst working on our home (we have a lot) and is fully booked for the next 6 months with new jobs which goes to show the level of service he provides. Absolutely outstanding (and of coure brilliant!)

  20. April 7th 2022 by Simon Lowe

    I heard you speak about this ten years ago, Micheal & always try to tell people about their service. I wrote to a CEO recently about amazing service from a young female train manger, Rebecca

  21. April 7th 2022 by Kath Cockshaw

    Hello Michael 🙂 I am celebrating Five Star Service from ‘National Trust Cottages’. For the last three days I have been on holiday in a National Trust Cottage property with my parents and parents-in-law. One of the party has limited mobility, can not do stairs, and uses a scooter. The holiday was our Christmas present to our parents, and so we hoped the property would accommodate our needs. We contacted the company beforehand to discuss facilities. Emails were timely, call centre staff were helpful. We were sent an Accessibility Guide for the property and the nearby stately home and grounds. Everything that could be a barrier had been measured and listed. Everything in the property had been thought of to make this persons stay comfortable, from accessible rooms, light switches and furniture to a purpose designed bathroom and even adjustable height hob and sink. Well done National Trust Cottages!!

  22. April 7th 2022 by lisa tubbs

    Asda always with a smile and a thankyou. Always a pleasure shopping there. I’ve never had a problem if I have any queries.

  23. April 7th 2022 by Emma

    I make a point of contacting anyone (or any firm) who has provided BRILLIANT customer or patient service. From nurses from when both my children were born (both prematurely), to cafés, pubs & restaurants, to Estate Agents. I always say Thank you and say why I think the customer service is excellent. Trentham gardens a few weeks ago – EVERY member of staff went out of their way to be sincerely kind and helpful. National Trust in Attingham last May, turned a potentially difficult visit into a truly memorable one.

  24. April 7th 2022 by Linda Findlay

    Hire the attitude and train the skill, then make sure your staff know how valued they are so that they never want to leave. Do the same with your customers — listen to them, find solutions that surpass their expectations and always have a “can do” attitude. My ultimate 5 star brand is Ikos (hotels group). No other 5 star hotel brand touches them. Each hotel has a separate FaceBook page filled with their customers talking about how fabulous they are. The customers sell the brand.

  25. April 7th 2022 by Victoria Thompson

    Do you mean who, as in us personally, or who have we encountered with good customer service?
    So I’m going with myself because I pride myself on it. There is just something deep rooted within me, that has to make sure, wherever possible, that any customer I speak with, will leave our conversation feeling better than they did before it. Sometimes the grumpier the better, because the transformation is so noticeable. I like to think they go away and have a better day.

  26. April 7th 2022 by Milly Hayward

    Octopus energy. An ethical energy provider who really go the extra mile to look after their customers. Excellent customer service always happy to help. Complete transparency of their kW and day rates with no charge for cancelling a tariff. Lots of online of online advice on how to save energy costs and they even went as far as giving all their customers an extra day at the old tariff rate before adding the new price increase.

  27. April 8th 2022 by Lisa Kemp

    I’ve had some great service, sadly the good service stands out way more than the bad as really good service seems to happen less frequently. However, I think I delivered a five star service as when my work contacted someone I had worked with to review how she had found my involvement with her, she described me as ‘the absolute standard’. I’ll put my trumpet away now 🤗 thank you 😊

  28. April 8th 2022 by William

    ‘5 Star Service’ was one of the first of your books that I read. What you describe in this thread is happening worldwide – the ‘No staff’/’Staff off with COVID’/’Catching up with the backlog’ excuse.

    There ARE companies out there who are taking the opposite view – i.e. to stand out. They are the ones who will get the business in the end.

  29. April 10th 2022 by Clare B

    Hello Michael. I have to celebrate the customer service I receive at Pawseidon Hydro Hub in Poole. I take our dog Billie for fortnightly hydrotherapy sessions at this wonderful canine hydrotherapy centre after she was injured as a puppy. It’s always service with a smile, for the humans as well as the dogs!

  30. April 11th 2022 by David Lovegrove

    Good morning Michael, I have been away, I got back this morning and read your “what happened to 5 * service” .Yesterday was my wife’s birthday and ten of the family went to Keddleston Country House for Sunday lunch, the staff were really special, the food and the service were excellent, but it would be the service that would encourage me back, My grandson has slight autism and struggles to make a decision, the staff had endless patience and understanding, with four grandchildren at the table they treated us all with kindness and understanding attending to every need, and offering to take a photograph, which is not unusual, but to add that we should go and stand in the garden and he would come with us take a family group photo there, that was 5 star service! David Lovegrove

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