Webinar Report- Solving Service Failures: 3 Causes of Inattentive Service

Last week I attended a webinar entitled “3 Causes of Inattentive Service” conducted by Jeff Toister (@toister) of Toister Solutions.  He began the presentation talking about a visit to a hotel and upon arrival was told to wait in the lobby while the hotel staff prepared his room.  The front desk staff then proceeded to help other people in line.  Fast forward an hour or so when Jeff went back to the front counter and asked if his room was ready only to find out that it had been ready for a half hour and customer service had basically forgotten about him.

I have been in his shoes many times.  In a fast-paced customer service environment it is so easy for a customer to fall through the cracks.  In the webinar, Toister presented some practical advice on how to avoid this.  Here are a couple of my key takeaways:

1. Multitasking- We learned that the brain can actually only process one conscious thought at a time so it’s no wonder that when we are asked to multitask it can actually make people less attentive and less effective.  I have always thought that the ability to multitask is a really good thing but feel challenged to simplify our customer service jobs.  This ensures that our employees give each and every customer better focus leading to better customer satisfaction with each interaction.

2. Prioritization- Jeff used the example of a fast food restaurant where you have a line of  people waiting to order and a customer barges in asking for ketchup.  Who do you help first?  You have a few options…

  • Finish taking the order of the person in line and then get the ketchup.
  • Work through the entire line and then get the ketchup.
  • Get the ketchup and be distracted from the order you are in the middle of.

Which would you choose?  This is a terrific challenge to look at the daily job responsibilities of our employees and set priorities to ensure that they are assisting customers in the right order and no one is missed.

In all it was a terrific and I look forward to reading his forward to reading his book entitled “Service Failure.”  Check out his book and his website to find some terrific resources on customer service!


Jeremy Watkin is a Product Marketing Manager at 8x8. He has more than 19 years of experience as a customer service professional leading high performing teams in the contact center. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis. Be sure to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


  • Thanks for adding this re-cap to your blog! I appreciate you attending the webinar and I’m glad to hear you got something out of it.

    Your readers can access a recorded version of the webinar from the link below:

    • Jeff,

      Thank you so much for commenting and for sharing the recording of the webinar! That’s a terrific resource.


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