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5 Reasons Why Patience is Important in Customer Service

“satisfied customers are walking advertisements”, said James Cash Penney.

According to Microsoft, 81% of businesses are competing primarily based on customer experience (CX). 

That’s because customers have a lot of options today – they won’t hesitate to opt for your competitor if you don’t respond to them soon.

That also includes dealing with difficult customers patiently and empathetically.

Even if you think of a personal shopping experience, you’ll notice how essential good customer service is for you. That doesn’t solely mean responding quickly to customer queries and doing the bare minimum – you have to be a good listener as well.

And when it comes to listening, patience stands in the middle of it. So, let’s discuss 5 reasons why patience is important in customer service.

Why Patience is Important in Customer Service

5 Reasons Why Patience is Important in Customer Service

1. Reduces Miscommunication

The foremost reason why patience is important in customer service is that it helps reduce miscommunication.

It is my observation from my days in the customer service industry that miscommunication is one of the major causes of agents responding incorrectly to customers.

That’s because being impatient can lead to the incorrect identification of a customer problem, misunderstanding of the context, and failure to provide personalized support.

I’ve asked multiple customer support representatives working at HiredSupport, and they’ve all agreed on one thing – correct identification is the first step to the resolution of a customer query.

Therefore, being willing to listen to the context of the problem and making sure you understand what the customer wants is necessary. 

For that, patience is important and lives up to the adage that patience is a virtue.

2. Increases Customer Satisfaction

In 2017, McDonald’s launched a Quarter Pounder made with fresh beef rather than with a frozen patty. 

However, it took a minute longer than the usual Quarter Pounder, and with McDonald’s drive-through speeds already lagging in service time with its competitors, this was a risky experiment.

According to Reuters, this was McDonald’s effort to serve fresh food, making this a fast vs. fresh competition. 

For the Quarter Pounder made with a fresh patty, McDonald’s customer service had to tell customers that they’d have to wait a bit longer. 

However, at the same time, the customers were told that the burger would be fresher and juicier. 

When a customer was asked about this situation, he replied, “If it’s better, I don’t mind waiting. But if it taste’s the same, then no.”

From this, we can conclude that customers don’t mind waiting if there’s no compromise on quality.

Therefore, staying patient increases customer satisfaction if you don’t undermine the quality and let customers know about the wait time beforehand.

Another good example of customer satisfaction through patience is the customer experience strategy of Nordstrom.

One of the key elements of Nordstrom’s customer service strategy is hiring the right people and empowering them to be creative in support of the company and its customers.

Contrary to popular belief, Nordstrom’s employee handbook does not consist of just one line. However, the idea of a single-line employee directive to “use your own best judgment” reflects the essence of their approach.

Nordstrom empowers its employees to take creative action, without asking permission, to opt for a solution that they deem is right.

This has enhanced their customer satisfaction to the point that their CS is globally famed.

3. Builds Trust

Trust is an essential component of any successful relationship, particularly in a business context.

Within the realm of customer service, trust is the glue that not only binds a company to its customers but also strengthens this relationship over time.

Building trust is an art, and patience is one of its most crucial brushstrokes.

The willingness to spend time understanding a customer’s concerns, responding effectively, and following up diligently reflects an organization’s commitment to its customers, thus cultivating trust.

Example 1: The Apple Case Study

A case study that demonstrates the role of patience in building trust is Apple Inc., a company renowned for its impeccable customer service.

Apple’s ‘Genius Bar’ is a clear demonstration of the company’s commitment to patient, personalized customer service.

The concept of the Genius Bar is simple yet effective. Customers can schedule an appointment, bring their Apple device to the store, and a trained expert – the ‘Genius’ – will spend time diagnosing and resolving the issue.

This process can be time-consuming, but Apple recognizes the importance of patience in delivering high-quality service.

By being patient and thorough, Apple builds a strong bond of trust with its customers, which, in turn, drives brand loyalty.

Example 2: The Amazon Scenario

In a more virtual setting, Amazon provides an excellent real-life scenario of patience fostering trust.

Amazon’s customer service representatives are known to spend significant amounts of time on calls or chats with customers to ensure their concerns are addressed.

The company’s ‘customer obsession’ philosophy involves resolving customer issues at the first contact point whenever possible, even if it takes longer than average.

This patient approach means that customers are not bounced around different departments, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.

The result is an enhanced customer experience, a stronger trust relationship, and, consequently, a greater likelihood of repeat business.

Example 3: Zappos – Going Above and Beyond

Another compelling real-life example is Zappos, an online retailer renowned for its extraordinary customer service.

In one remarkable instance, a Zappos representative spent over 10 hours on the phone with a customer, patiently assisting with their order.

Although this is an extreme case, it showcases the company’s dedication to patient and attentive service.

Zappos’ patience, shown in their willingness to spend whatever time necessary to satisfy a customer, fosters deep trust and positions the company as a reliable and customer-focused retailer.

These examples illustrate how patience in customer service contributes significantly to building trust.

Whether it’s spending time diagnosing an issue at an Apple store, patiently addressing customer queries at Amazon, or going above and beyond at Zappos, these practices breed customer trust.

Trust, once gained, is a powerful asset. It can lead to customer retention, positive word-of-mouth publicity, and ultimately, business success.

Hence, patience proves itself to be a cornerstone in fostering trust and solidifying customer relationships.

10 Proven Ways to Improve Internal Customer Service

4. Effective Problem-Solving

Patience goes hand-in-hand with effective problem-solving in customer service.

Taking the time to fully understand a customer’s issue – listening attentively, asking relevant questions, and refraining from rushing to a solution – leads to a comprehensive view of the problem at hand.

This patient approach increases the likelihood of providing an appropriate, effective solution, prevents repeated issues, and ultimately saves time for both the customer and the company.

The Ritz-Carlton Case Study

A shining example of effective problem-solving through patience is seen in the world-renowned Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

They operate under the philosophy that every employee, regardless of their position, has the ability (and the responsibility) to stop and fix customer issues.

In one instance, a family staying at the hotel lost their child’s stuffed giraffe named “Joshie.” The father told his distraught son that Joshie was simply taking an extended vacation.

When the staff found the stuffed animal, they not only shipped it back but included a photo album of Joshie enjoying his “extended vacation,” including using the spa and helping the staff.

This required patience and creative problem-solving, and it resulted in a story that the family shared widely, promoting the hotel’s exceptional customer service.

The Southwest Airlines Scenario

Southwest Airlines, known for its customer-centric service, provides a real-life example of patient problem-solving.

In one incident, a passenger was distraught because her luggage, which contained important medication, was misplaced.

Instead of merely apologizing and promising to find the luggage as soon as possible, the Southwest representative took the time to understand the urgency of the situation.

Recognizing the potential health risk, they not only tracked down the luggage but also ensured it was personally delivered to the passenger in the middle of the night.

The representative could have opted for the standard procedure, but patience and understanding led to a solution that exceeded the customer’s expectations.

Zara – Turning a Crisis into an Opportunity

In the world of retail, Zara offers a compelling case of patient problem-solving.

During a supply chain crisis that caused delays in delivering online purchases, Zara didn’t rush to offer standard compensations like discounts or refunds.

Instead, they patiently reached out to each affected customer, explained the situation, and offered an upgraded delivery service for future purchases.

By taking the time to offer a personalized solution, they turned a potential PR disaster into a trust-building opportunity.

In all these scenarios, patience was a vital factor in effective problem-solving.

Ritz-Carlton, Southwest Airlines, and Zara each demonstrated how taking time to understand the customer’s problem in depth, rather than rushing to a quick fix, led to better solutions and enhanced customer satisfaction.

In the long run, this approach saves time, improves a company’s reputation, and strengthens customer relationships.

Effective problem-solving, therefore, is yet another area where the importance of patience in customer service is clearly demonstrated.

5. Reduces Employee Stress

An often overlooked, but highly significant, aspect of patience in customer service is its role in reducing employee stress.

In a high-pressure environment, the ability to maintain composure and patience can lead to less stressful interactions, foster better mental health, decrease staff turnover, and improve overall service quality.

Example 1:The Buffer Case Study

A shining example in the realm of tech startups, Buffer, an application designed for managing social networks, places immense importance on patience in reducing employee stress.

They encourage their customer service representatives to spend as much time as needed on a customer inquiry rather than rushing to close tickets.

This not only results in thorough problem-solving but also significantly reduces the pressure on employees.

Buffer’s emphasis on patience and well-being has led to high employee satisfaction and a notable decrease in staff turnover.

Example 2: The Scandinavian Airlines Scenario

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) provides an excellent real-life example of a patient approach to reducing employee stress.

SAS implemented a program where customer service agents were given more autonomy to resolve customer issues without escalating them to superiors.

This patient and trusting approach removed the stress of strict protocols, empowered employees, and led to more creative problem-solving.

The program resulted in more engaged employees, improved customer service, and lower staff turnover.

Example 3: The Mayo Clinic Model

In the healthcare sector, the Mayo Clinic’s patient-centric model has had a profound effect on reducing employee stress.

Recognizing the high-pressure environment of healthcare, the Mayo Clinic emphasizes patience and empathy in interactions with patients.

They offer their staff mindfulness and stress management resources to promote a patient and calm approach.

This emphasis on patience reduces burnout, improves job satisfaction, and results in superior patient care.

These case studies illustrate the value of patience in mitigating employee stress.

Companies like Buffer, Scandinavian Airlines, and Mayo Clinic have shown that a patient approach to customer service can create a more positive work environment, which in turn enhances service quality.

In an environment of patience, employees are less likely to feel rushed or stressed, more likely to find satisfaction in their work, and more capable of delivering exceptional service.

Consequently, the role of patience in customer service extends beyond customer satisfaction; it is also a vital component of employee well-being and company culture.


In a rapidly paced world where instant gratification is often sought, the importance of patience in customer service can sometimes be overlooked.

And At HiredSupport, I have worked with several clients where I have seen the impact of good customer support with the revenue.

In fact, a satisfied customer customer can boost effect of “word of mouth” (where customers promote your brand by speaking good about it).

Pro Tip
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If you are struggling to meet customer expectations, I recommend to run a free audit with the HiredSupport. Zero dollar cost, you’ll have a complete audit of your support department and the improvements you need to make.

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