Something unlikely to leave your mind anytime soon: Hopefully, in 2021 it will not be your business or brand that receives the distinguished title of “Worst Customer Service.” With many years under our belts of unpleasant extremes in customer service, these experiences have reared their heads and continue to escalate instead of getting better.
Many of these experiences have become violent with both consumers and employees; we hope these instances will not become a trend. However, we are focusing on cases of many kinds of customer service failures that are all too common in today’s world and happened daily. We all have had unforgettable moments of lousy customer service. Ensure your business or brand is known for the right kind of service.
Impossible to believe, well, maybe not. I watched as an elderly lady in a motorized shopping cart drove up to the checkout lane in a popular superstore. She struggled somehow as she unloaded her items onto the checkout counter as the lady working the cash register was laughing and talking to another employee. After unloading all of her things, she waited for the lady to acknowledge her to check her out, and this went on for a few minutes when the employee turned around to tell the customer, “you are going have to load all this stuff back up in your shopping buggy and go to another checkout, I am closed,” and she left.
A middle-aged gentleman walks into a well-known grocery store, carrying an over half-eaten pie. Really? I thought you took food out of the grocery store, not into it, well little did I know.
Curious, I watched as this gentleman made his way to the closest checkout register and proceeded to tell the cashier this. “I am bringing back this lemon pie because my wife and I just didn’t like it very much.” What the hell? Is that a real thing? So, I then noticed that more than half of the pie was gone. Do people do this? The employee then proceeds to say, “I am so sorry, sir, that you did not have the experience you expected; I will be glad to give you a refund.” So you really can have your pie and eat it too!”
These two separate and real scenarios happen daily. While not all businesses are perfect and companies occasionally make a mistake from time to time when dealing with an unpleasant person, we manage to experience these issues. Americans indeed tell an average of 15 people about a bad service experience vs. 11 people about a good service experience. Can you count on your fingers more positive or bad experiences in an average week? We have all been eager to call customer service to voice a complaint and get faced with an automated voice menu that, in the end, directs you to visit their website.
Automobiles, Trains & Planes
When you have decided to book and purchase an airline ticket, you will place your whole trip and experience into that airline’s experienced hands. You rely on many professionals to get the job done and the experience to go off without a hitch. We have determined no one is perfect, and there are rare occasions, mishandled bags, flight delays, seat disrupts, flight cancellations, you know the usual. However, on this particular sunny summer day, a young lady makes her way to the airport for a long-awaited and needed family vacation with her children. This fantastic trip had been planned for over eight months now, with all tickets purchased in advance because she had saved for a first-class experience. Eagerly waiting in line to check-in, the family approached the airline kiosk and realized when they received their tickets, there were no seats assigned; the young lady thought this strange but figured they would assign when we get to the gate, so to the security checkpoint they go. At the gate, the airline representative began to tell the young family that they could not get a seat assignment because the flight had been over-sold and to please take a seat for now. However, after about an hour of back and forth and a few heated discussions, it came down to we are sorry you purchased first-class tickets in advance, we over-sold this flight, and we now require volunteers to give up their seats so you and your family could have seats on the plane, and we apologize. However, we now have a few seats in coach, not first, but here is a $200.00 gift certificate for future travel for your trouble. Oh, and one last thing, the seats are not together. This was an “Unforgettable” vacation.
Often, poor or bad customer service is caused by a lack of effort from customer service agents or employees. A lack of engagement and motivation and lack of proper training on the employers end, leading to unhappy and unsatisfied employees, unsafe work environments, and reduced productivity.
Can we Fix It?
Assessing the situation, asking for the customer’s needs and preferences, and offering and delivering a solution whenever possible is a start. Don’t just leave customers on hold; treat your consumers with respect. Improve your personalization, listen, reward and offer special incentives. Don’t just appreciate your best customer; appreciate them all.
I sat down to order one of my favorite pasta dishes at a popular American chain restaurant. My waitress was all smiles, enthusiastic and friendly she was genuinely happy that I was there. I knew then my experience was going to be grand from that point on just by my first impression, and it was Unforgettable!