Bad customer service examples offer great lessons on how to improve customer service. These customer service horror stories will give you a laugh…and a lesson.
Real-world examples are a great tool for training your customer service staff.
Some of the best examples are negative examples – case studies of what not to do in response to a customer request or complaint. To help get the ball rolling, we’ve provided several examples of actual customer service scenarios, reported by customers themselves.
Case Study #1: Mice are Normal
The Story: A group of friends gathered at a local restaurant franchise for dinner. Midway through their meal, they noticed a mouse dart out between two booths and called the furry patron to the attention of their waiter. The waiter said, “That’s cool,” and asked what they would like done about it. Eventually, the manager entered the picture and told the diners, “All restaurants have mice whether you see them or not. I can take care of your bill, but there’s nothing else I can do about it.” Not surprisingly, the patrons left the restaurant in a hurry, never to return again.
The Lesson: Customers take health and safety issues very seriously. The diners wanted more than a refund. They want to know that the business was taking every possible precaution to prevent infestations and unsanitary conditions. The employees’ ambivalent attitude toward a possible rodent problem communicated that hygiene was not high the restaurant’s list of priorities.
Case Study #2: Leaky Planes
The Story: A passenger on a flight with a major airline was getting dripped on by moisture leaking from overhead vents. He reported the incident to the stewardess who pointed out that the last ten rows of the aircraft had paper towels stuffed into the side vents of the last two rows. The passenger asked the stewardess if she would report the incident, and she refused to do so, saying there was a condensation problem with the entire fleet and her report wouldn’t make any difference. Aside from being annoyed, the passenger began to question the mechanical quality and safety of every plane in the airline.
The Lesson: The stewardess’ response was problematic for a lot of reasons. Worst of all, her response implied that the airline ignored the needs of their customers and refused to confront problems, even when they were reported by their own staff. A better response would have been to acknowledge there was a problem and agree to file a report with the airline’s main office as soon as possible.
Case Study #3: Cell Phone Runaround
The Story: A customer purchased a new mobile phone from a reputable cell phone provider. Several months later, the phone started to malfunction and the customer sent the phone back to the company for service. The company stated that they would not replace the phone because it showed signs of corrosion on the battery. The phone had not been exposed to water, and subsequent calls to customer service were met with the ridiculous excuse that the corrosion was the result of normal exposure to air – but that the company still would not replace it or fix the problem free of charge.
The Lesson: The lesson here is obvious. Customer satisfaction requires a willingness to stop making excuses and get to the root of the problem, if it means the company has to assume responsibility for the cost of the fix.