#1 – Grateful for the Chance to Vent
Over and over again, those who responded thanked us for the opportunity to tell us how they were mistreated. They wanted to tell their stories to someone who would listen. They were pleased for the opportunity to get even. They seemed to regard this exercise as a form of non-violent revenge!
In summary, we were “The Telephone Doctor Customer Service Court of Appeals.” Remember the old 3 to 11 ratio – a customer will tell 11 people, even strangers, about a bad experience and only 3 about a good one.
#2 – The Viral Syndrome
Years ago customers told jokes about a company who gave poor customer service. Customers were venting their frustrations about their last bad customer service experience and making jokes out of the experience.
Today they just need to go to the internet and find a ‘complaint’ site. Woe to businesses that offend their customers with poor service. These organizations become the butt of today’s new era of jokes! And sadly, it’s carved in stone and remains there forever.
#3 – The Memory of an Elephant; Customers Don’t Forget
When customers told me about their experiences we heard a lot of “This happened three years ago.” Or “Let me tell you what happened five years ago.” One woman recounted dealing with a local bank from 20 years ago – a bank that was absorbed by a bigger bank and no longer exists! But she’s still angry from that long ago.
If businesses are counting on customers to forget rudeness or ineptitude, don’t ‘bank’ on it!
#4 – “You’re Not Going to Believe This”
We are in shock at how we’re treated, or what was said to us, or emailed to us. “You’re not going to believe this!” or “I can’t believe how they treated me!” or “Can you believe what he said to me?” are part of the conversation when talking about bad customer service.
Those abused by poor customer service can never seem to accept the fact that it happened. They remain shocked and continue to agonize!
#5 – No Return, No Deposit
In only a very few cases did a complaining customer indicate that he went back to shop at an offending store. One customer (and his father before him) had been buying a certain brand of battery for years that had proven a true value. When the clerk wouldn’t honor his $5 coupon on a $50 purchase for the $49.99 battery, the customer said he wouldn’t buy at that store again, to which the clerk said “OK.”
On the way out of the store, the customer realized he wanted the battery, refused to be rebuffed by the rude, inept salesperson, and went to see the manager who worked out a satisfactory compromise.
The other respondents, though, emphatically told us they’d never go back after their aggravation. No return means no deposit (of future sales).
#6 – FREE Advertising; The Kind You Don’t Want
Most of those respondents who recounted their customer service nightmares assured us they’d told their family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else who’d listen about the bad service incident. They seemed enthusiastic in denouncing the offending organization and urged everyone not to patronize them! I’ve been on an elevator where a ‘stranger’ gets on and starts to rip on the doctor’s office he just came from. It happens.
#7 – Hell Hath No Fury Like a Customer Scorned
Most effects of bad customer service are summed up with this phrase!