3 Customer Service Nightmare Stories to Learn From

For consumers, “customer service” typically carries visions of long hold times, reps who don’t care, being transferred around like crazy, and endless frustration, anxiety, and stress.

Many companies do not value customer service. And truthfully, that’s a big mistake because it only hurts their bottom line.

Below are a few examples of horrid customer service. We’ll keep the names of the companies private.

Think of this not as an opportunity to revel in the shortcomings of other businesses, but rather as time to learn from their mistakes so you don’t repeat them yourself:

1. The Bookstore Clerk Who Didn’t Care

One day, a customer came to a bookstore, looking for a children’s book. They didn’t know where to find it, so they immediately found a store clerk.

“It’s behind you,” the clerk mumbled as they pointed in the right direction. “She didn’t even try to find the book on her own,” the clerk said to another coworker within earshot of the customer.

As you might guess, the customer walked out of the store and bought the book somewhere else.

Give customers the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, they’ve just had a long day, or they appreciate someone else’s help. It’s not that they’re being lazy.

You have customer service reps. Their job is to gladly help your customers.

If they find it hard to do so, maybe it’s time for them to work somewhere else.

2. A Really Big Company with Normally Outstanding Service Does the Wrong Thing

One woman bought three packages of toilet paper for about $90.

The problem was the company incorrectly charged her shipping costs of $7,000!

Sounds like a pretty easy problem to fix, right?

She contacted customer service and even wrote a letter to the CEO.

…And still no fix!

The company contended that the package was delivered on-time and in good condition.

Finally, the woman took the problem to a local TV station. And nearly three months later, she was reimbursed.

Don’t let an obvious blunder damage your reputation this badly!

3. Listen, Don’t Squelch

When you make a mistake, you’re better off just fixing it. But some companies instead try to suppress the problem.

For example, one hotel decided they would charge a $500 fine for any negative online review if you had booked them for any type of event.

Of course, consumers threw a fit all over social media.

And only when the situation looked like it was really blowing up did the hotel bother to do anything.

They offered excuses about their actions being a “joke.”

Customers did not see the humor in it.

You’re much better off listening and fixing customer problems in the first place.

Much better to learn from others’ mistakes than it is to make them yourself and have to clean them up, isn’t it?

Take these to heart. Every good thing you do for your customers comes back to you in the form of greater business growth.