Chatterbox #103 – Customer service

Everyone likes to get good customer service, but we don’t always get it. In this episode, we talk about tipping (where, when, and how much), and about how to handle a situation when the service was not so good. Harp and Maura also share their own perspectives of what it’s like to work in customer service. Is the customer realty always right?


Expressions included in the learning materialsEnglish Podcast

  • That very thing
  • How much and whom to tip in Canada
  • The bill
  • A grey area
  • To swear
  • Interac and the tip function
  • What to do when you get bad customer service
  • To be taken advantage of
  • The squeaky wheel gets the oil
  • On the other end of the line
  • Across the board
  • The customer is always right
  • The other side of the coin
  • Minimum wage

Sample transcript

Maura:            All right. Now let’s get to the episode today. We are going to do a Chatterbox episode, and that is where Harp and I get to chat about different topics of interest—could be cultural, could be an interview.

Harp:              We often do different topics, and if you ever have an idea, you could always leave us a suggestion on our Facebook page or send us an email.

Maura:            Now, this time, we are going to be talking about customer service.

Harp:              Yes. We’re gonna talk about customer service. So whether you go to a restaurant or if you go shopping, the service that you get.

Maura:            Exactly. How do the people in a store or a restaurant or in a business treat the customers?

Harp:              We’re gonna start with talking about tipping.

Maura:            And then we’re gonna talk a little bit about bad customer service.

Harp:              And we’re gonna finish with talking about our experiences working in customer service.

Maura:            That’s right, because we didn’t always just broadcast podcasts.

Harp:              Yeah. We were doing other work before.

Maura:            OK. So first we’re gonna talk about tipping, which is when you give an amount of money to someone who has provided you with a service.

Harp:              Yeah. You’ve paid for the service already, but you give them an additional amount of money as an appreciation for their service.

Maura:            You know, that was the old definition, I think, Harp, because more and more, tipping is expected. Whether or not you got good service, we’re supposed to give a little bit of an extra amount to some forms of service that we get.

Harp:              Yes. That is true. It’s really expected now.

Maura:            And also, more and more places—more and more types of employees—are expecting tips. Places that I remember when I was a kid no one ever tipped, today we do tip.

Harp:              The most common place to tip is in a restaurant.

Maura:            That is definitely true. When you go to a restaurant and you sit down, when someone takes your order and brings you your food, you should be giving them a tip at the end. Now, the amount that you tip is really up to you.

Harp:              Yeah, it varies. And this is where the quality of service can definitely come in, because you can leave 10% if it was bad service, or if it was really good service, you can leave 20%.

Maura:            Or even more. Now, when Harp says 10%, she means 10% of your bill. So, for example, if you bought a meal and it cost $10, then a 10% tip is one dollar.

Harp:              Now I have a question for you, Maura.

Maura:            I hope it’s not a more difficult math question, because I won’t be able to do it.

Harp:              Nope. But I’ve had this discussion with my friends. Do you tip on the amount before taxes or after taxes?

Maura:            To be honest, I usually estimate. And when I look at the receipt, I probably look at the total, so I would look at the price after taxes, because in Canada our taxes are added on after. So if you go to a restaurant and the menu says that something is going to cost $8.83, when you get your bill, it’s not going to be $8.83. It’s going to be that amount plus the tax, so the bill always goes up.

Harp:              Yeah. And the tax amount differs depending on which province you’re in, but it’ll definitely go up. I agree with you though, I tip on the total after taxes.

english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips