Horrible Customer Service Reigns, Have You Noticed?

 In Customer Engagement, customer experience management, Customer Loyalty & Retention, Customer Service & Satisfaction, Customers

Horrible customer service is the norm today. It reigns! Have you experienced any similar scenarios recently like the ones below? I have all within the last month. Can you relate to these? I know things like this have happened before to me. I thought, who am I to expect better service? Then, I thought, really, with all of the new technologies, where is excellent customer service?

 Horrible Customer Service Examples this Month

  1. No follow-up: The customer service reps says, “I would never do anything to imply that we don’t want to help you. I will check it out and call you back.” They never call back. This happened before with these guys. I am changing service.
  2. Automated phone systems: I call a business and I get, “Thank you for calling. Press the number related to your problem (after six that don’t apply. Press 7 for all other issues.” I do it, like an idiot and then I get another six options. I say, “Get me a real person,” I get your “answer doesn’t apply.” So, I start all over….
  3. Poorly trained reps: The third customer service rep I talked to says, “Can you tell me about your situation?” So for the third time I tell them, then I get transferred again. I really believe they wanted me to hang up, so they didn’t have to solve the problem because they had no solution.
  4. Bogus contracts: I questions my bill with a service provider, and they said, when I adjusted my service a number of months ago, I agreed to another two years. And, that I will pay a penalty for early termination. I said, “I didn’t agree to that. I don’t have it in writing.” I ask for a manager. The supervisor proceeds to defend their team and say I didn’t understand by repeating the same things. I am thinking, who is the customer here?
  5. Poor quality: I ordered a books online and all the covers came damaged. I thought, how could this happen, where’s the quality control? They do eventually replace everything. But, the damage is done so to speak.
  6. Poor phone skills: I call a business and the phone rings forever., no one answers…not calling them anymore.
  7. Online miscues: I fill out an a form online for an estimate and I get a response three days later. I already bought another service.
  8. Horrible healthcare: The worst lately has been healthcare providers. All of them. My wife’s parents recently suffered some health issues, and have gone to live in an assisted living facility. The whole health system has been a nightmare. My wife has had to “coach” healthcare providers into delivering better Horrible Customer Service Reigns, Have You Noticed?service so her parents could be helped..really! Few know how to do it on their own.

The Expectation of Hope

I came across these two statements this week, during my dismay and anger over all of the poor service I experienced. It reminded me that I can do better at what I do. It gave me hope others may feel the same way about abolishing horrible customer service. Check these out:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider of our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.” (Some say Gandhi said this, although there doesn’t seem to be confirming evidence,)

“It is, of course, not possible to state with any practical exactitude what the customer is. But there are several common denominators to be found when we consider the customer in terms of what he is not. These things, I think, are fundamental to intelligent customer relationship and, it may be added, most of them apply pretty well to the vast majority of prospects as well.

  • The customer is not dependent upon us—we are dependent upon him.
  • The customer is not an interruption of our work—he is the purpose of it.
  • The customer is not a rank outsider to our business—he is a part of it.
  • The customer is not a statistic—he is a flesh-and-blood human being completely equipped with biases, prejudices, emotions, pulse, blood chemistry and possibly a deficiency of certain vitamins.
  • The customer is not someone to argue with or match wits against—he is a person who brings us his wants. If we have sufficient imagination we will endeavor to handle them profitably to him and to ourselves. (“Printers’ Ink: A Journal for Advertisers”, 1941. An interview with Kenneth B. Elliott, Vice President in Charge of Sales for The Studebaker Corporation.) These are great words but the company ended up having financial problems, was merged with others and didn’t make it. And, that’s the dilemma and opportunity.

After all, with the horrible customer service examples above, I did have one stellar situation, where the company and agent excelled while over-promising and over-delivering. They acted like what they did was no big deal. I like that approach, don’t you? What if…?

Horrible Customer Service Reigns, Have You Noticed?By the way, does your company have horrible customer service? How about average service? Either way, download this complimentary eBook guide: The Customer has the Power.

And, do you want to enhance your leadership skills to drive customer-centered behaviors in employees? If so, check out this eBook, The Great Customer Experience Scam.

 

Rick Conlow
Rick Conlow is the CEO & Founder of Rick Conlow International, a consulting, training and coaching firm. He has helped over 200 companies such as Target, Costco, Andersen Windows, Spectrum, Northern Power, Meijer, Carpet King, International Truck, John Deere, Lowes Financial, and Canadian Linen improve customer loyalty, increase sales and add profits. Rick has been a general manager, vice president, training director, program director, and national sales trainer. He has authored 22 books, and regularly speaks at conferences and to audiences of all sizes.
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