The services that businesses provide — even insurance services — can seem like impersonal commodities: Personal gestures make for much stronger relationships. (Photo: iStock)

Service businesses can be tough for many reasons. One of the biggest is that when they do their jobs and deliver the promised service, people rarely notice: it’s just expected they’ll do so. But should they fail to deliver all or even part of what’s expected, that’s a whole different story.

I was reminded of these almost “no win” situations this morning, when I opened a letter from my internet provider CenturyLink. I’m not sure that internet providers technically qualify as “service companies,” but from my perspective, CenturyLink is providing a service to me: one that I take for granted when they do. And because I’m able to work from my home largely because of the internet, I get pretty cranky about it when they occasionally don’t provide said service due to a system problem or a lightning strike, etc. (we get a lot a lightning up here in the mountains of New Mexico).

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