Unpleasant Experiences

Stories of Poor Customer Service

No company is perfect, and every business is going to make occasional mistakes when working with unhappy customers. It’s no easy task to diffuse someone who’s highly frustrated, leaving customer service reps very little room for error when dealing with an angry customer. Even the most successful brands can be susceptible to having a bad customer service moment if they aren’t focused on the customer success.

Companies who want to prevent these instances from affecting their business will need to know what bad customer service looks like and how they can overcome it. Take a look at some of the most common bad customer service examples as well as the recommended steps for avoiding them.

1. Prioritizing company policy above the customer needs.

As companies grow, they often need to add more internal structure that helps manage and regulate the business. This often comes in the form of corporate policies or rules that are put in place to ensure a consistent customer experience. However, sometimes the rules that are designed to benefit the business can act as roadblocks to the customer’s success.

For example, a notable complaint made against a large retail brand. This customer found that a product was priced higher in the store than it was marked online. When he asked an employee to match the cheaper price, the employee denied his request due to the company’s policies.

What’s frustrating about this case is that the customer presented a clear opportunity for the business to provide above and beyond customer service. Instead, this decision led to not only an unsatisfied customer but also a viral news story that influenced thousands of potential leads. Customers trust a company that’s dedicated to fulfilling their needs, and sometimes bending the rules is a great way to build customer loyalty.

2. Mismanaging social media.

Social media is still a relatively new tool for businesses, and many companies have yet to master its constantly evolving nature. Customers, on the other hand, are pioneering social media trends and are expecting brands to keep up with their fast-moving pace.

Some companies have real trouble staying up-to-date on their social media channels, especially when it comes to addressing the customer service aspect. These businesses often provide inhumane or insincere responses to  customer feedback and consistently miss opportunities to address negative comments or posts.

In one case, a major phone provider was asked by one of its Twitter followers if customer service reps could see user passwords. The company replied, “Yes” and went on to explain in detail how passwords were stored in their security system. While this may have been an act of transparency on their part, this created a major security issue for the company’s users. Three days after the incident, the company took steps to change its policy to protect all of its customers’ passwords. 

Ignoring customer feedback.

Between the internet and social media, customers and brands are connected 24/7, opening more avenues for customers to offer their feedback. Since customers are aware that businesses are privy to their complaints, ignoring them is always worse than acknowledging them. A lack of response signals to customers that the company not only doesn’t care about their opinion but, also doesn’t value their contribution to the business.

Some airlines have a notorious reputation for mishandling customer feedback. Customer tweeted at the airline about lost luggage, and it took about eight hours for their social media team to respond. Additionally, their response was confusing and demonstrated a lack of competency for the social media site.

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