Mashable loses quality

5 painful examples of poor customer service


For any example of a good customer service experience, it's easy to find a bad one. You have probably already experienced one or two customer service missteps yourself - I definitely have.

At Userlike, we focus on the positives and how to provide the best service using the best tools and techniques. But it is also useful to look at some negative experiences and what can be learned from those mistakes.

An infographic on Help Scout shows that while 80% of companies believe they provide great customer service, only 8% of customers think they do. If this statistic is true, most companies provide horrific customer service, leaving plenty of room for improvement.

While we want to learn from the best, we can learn from the worst.

Let's take a look at the following five examples of poor customer service and what we can learn from them.

The Comcast rep who just won't give up

When you want to cancel your contract with your carrier, you don't want an over-enthusiastic customer service representative who will do everything possible to discourage you from canceling.

That's exactly what happened when writers Veronica Belmont and Ryan Block called Comcast - a company notorious for poor customer service.

In blocks of recording the conversation, you can hear that the Comcast account manager would never let you go. You can also hear Block's frustration at not being able to easily terminate the contract despite him declaring he has already signed a contract with another provider.

While it's good to know why a customer decided to cancel your service, the Comcast consultant took the wrong route and created negative press for the company.

If a customer decides not to continue doing business with you, they have already made up their mind. Then the best that you can do is deal with it professionally and comply with his request. The last thing you want is to make the customer feel like they are being held by continuing to force a conversation on them and trying to convince them to change their mind.

Ultimately, the incident drew a lot of media attention and forced Comcast to issue a statement apologizing for the hardships.

Bank closes customer account without justification

Have you ever felt that someone was kidding you? We'd expect this from friends, family, or kids every now and then - but from a bank with over 170 branches across Tennessee?

That's exactly what happened as a Reddit user gofordrew Contacted his bank to find out why his card no longer worked on the machine. After going to the bank branch, you'd expect the client advisor to explain what had happened and how they were going to solve the problem.

Do you want better customer relationships?

Try Userlike for free and chat with your customers on your website, Facebook Messenger and Telegram.

Learn more

Instead, they recommended that he call the service hotline, where he was told (after an hour on hold) that the department handling these incidents was not taking customer inquiries and that he would receive a letter. When he went to their headquarters the next day he was told the same thing; he should wait for the letter.

This came a few days later and simply stated that the account had been closed. Surprisingly, there was no explanation given there - only the customer advisor whom he could contact if he had any questions: Elvis Pelvis.

You read that right, Elvis Pelvis was the relationship manager he should turn to to find out why his account had been closed and why it was gofordrew it was no longer possible to withdraw money from it.

Perhaps there was a good reason his account was closed, or it was simply a mistake by the bank. But don't joke around when someone's personal finances are at stake. This bank failed to understand.

The lack of transparency and the whole process of even getting an explanation are added to the unpleasant experience. All of this could have been solved simply by giving a reason personally in one of the branches.

British Airways: Sorry, you can't do that

Following his trip from Chicago to Paris, Hasan Syed grew increasingly frustrated with British Airways' (BA) ability to deal with the loss of his father's luggage. What followed was Sayed tweeted his annoyance with the airline.

But instead of just tweeting about these hardships, he went a step further and switched a paid tweet to get the word out.

Hasan Sayed's paid tweet.

Now, you'd expect an airline like British Airways to reply to the paid tweet immediately. In fact, it took an incredible eight hours for them to respond - when 76,000 users had already seen it and it appeared on Mashable. And it got worse. When BA finally responded, their answer came straight from the manual: "Things You Should Never Say on Twitter".

BA replies to Syed's tweet.

Her response raised the question of how an airline that works around the clock has limited time to respond to tweets. When an airline has lost a passenger's baggage, they are expected to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Proactivity is essential here. Hasan therefore reached out to Twitter to escalate the incident, as he likely felt that BA was taking his problem seriously enough.

The response time is one of the most important metrics in customer service. Twitter also found that people would be willing to spend $ 20 more if an airline responded within 6 minutes.

Airlines could charge more money if you respond faster.

Amazon just doesn't get it

Do you also mind if someone takes longer than necessary? This is what happened to Chris Williams when he feared he was a victim of a phishing attack and reached out to Amazon's live chat support to get an email regardless of his Amazon account.

A simple query, but in this case Williams spent nearly an hour explaining his problem to the account manager. During that conversation, the consultant repeatedly called Chris “Brittni” and had difficulty understanding what seemed like a simple request.

Amazon's customer support has seen better days.

As you can see throughout the chat history, the customer advisor's poor English and prepackaged answers were of no help and only added to the confusion.

Even if the customer service rep remained calm, it only fueled Williams' anger. The incident generated some negative press for Amazon; Business Insider, for example, particularly emphasized the ready-made answers based on the “copy + paste” principle.

When speaking to a disgruntled customer, you need to reassure them that you understand their problem and know how to solve it for them.

Smucker's comments are censored

There will always be people who will express their displeasure and concerns. We'd all like to hear positive feedback, but the worst thing you can do is ignore the negative - or erase them entirely.

The food manufacturer Smucker’s came under fire when it decided to delete questions and comments on its social networks regarding its approach to genetically manipulating products. Of course, people were upset that their posts were deleted.

What happened next is not surprising. People switched to other channels to get rid of their complaints and anger about Smucker's lack of interest.

The moral of the story is that you should never ignore a customer's request, but always take note of it and answer it.

You can't please everyone, but that's no reason to neglect a (potential) customer with unprofessional customer service.

Customer support should not be as described in this article. Good service means building a relationship and trust. Ultimately, customer service is a very important part of your company's face. He's the voice of your company - the one that reaches the public.


How does bad customer service come about?

Customer Service Expert Shep Hyken says, “Customer Service; that is common sense. You may know how to deliver an excellent customer service experience, but do you too? ”

Often companies know how to provide perfect customer service but fail to do it. There are many reasons why this happens. Here are three of the most important:

  • The wrong people: Finding the right people with the right understanding of customer service can be difficult. Hiring based on skills and competency is one thing, but you will also want people who are capable of learning and who suit you.
  • Culture: Sometimes corporate culture creates bad customer experiences, for example when the standard or vision to provide customer service is not in place.
  • Unsuitable training: Training and further training your customer advisors is essential in order to offer high quality service. And it doesn't stop there. Continuous personal and professional development to maintain and nurture the ideal mindset for customer service is also necessary.

Obviously, these aren't the only examples of companies that have provided poor customer service, but they do make a good impression. And if you ever feel that you have failed at customer service yourself, the examples given can help you and add a little more security. You are not alone.