For the past posts, we have highlighted the companies who have remarkable customer service delivery. We shared their most inspiring customer service stories and looked into their best practices which can be applied by any company who desires to improve their customer service approach.
In this post, however, let’s view the other side of the coin. They say it is wise to learn from your mistakes, but we say it is wiser to learn from others’ mistakes. So here are the Top 4 Customer Service Fails this year and the lessons we can learn from them.
The Hellish Call by Comcast
After a customer’s unfortunate experience with a Comcast’s customer service rep, the recorded call went viral and became the horror customer service story no one ever wanted to have. Ryan Block and Veronica Belmont called Comcast to cancel their subscription, but what was supposedly the easiest issue to handle became the most dragging and annoying call they ever had.
Lesson Learned: First and foremost, customer service reps must show respect in their tone at all times. Regardless if the customer is calling to say they no longer want to do business with you, be courteous still. You may probe with appropriate questions why they want to cancel for your company’s data, but not to the point of being intrusive. This call would have ended differently if the customer service rep genuinely thanked the customer for the years they stayed with Comcast and could have served as a springboard for possible future referrals and more so saving the company’s reputation.
South West Airlines Misplaces 85-year Old Grandma
Being stuck in an airport for eleven hours, missing a flight, with no food nor can’t even go to the bathroom because it is physically challenging is the worst scenario that could happen to anyone, let alone a grandma who is diabetic and bound on a wheelchair. This unfortunate event was experienced by 85-year old Alice Vaticano due to a processing error, according to South West Airlines. Their response to this incident left a sour taste in the mouth as they issued a less than apologetic statement and shifted the blame to the skycaps.
Lesson Learned: South West Airlines boast of its culture of great customer service, but they sure did make a big miss here. In cases where there obviously was an error, the company should take ownership of the mistake and carry the full responsibility of fixing the issue. It is only proper to not “close shop” nor call it a day until every customer has been well attended to and given a satisfying customer experience. While this instance may be a South West Airline concern, airport employees or concerned bystanders could have done something about it too. “Customer service is everyone’s responsibility,” the Forbes article said. And we couldn’t agree more with that statement.
Uber Threatens A Female Journalist
Uber definitely made a major fail on this one after its senior executive, Emil Michael, made a repulsive remark in reaction to a report that his company is sexist. When news about Uber drivers’ sexual and physical assaults on its passengers came out, its PR team released statements to discredit the victims’ accounts with gender discriminating comments such as being “drunk” and “provocatively dressed” which may have led to the assaults. Michael singles out female journalist Sarah Lacy, author and editor at PandoDaily, that he will have her and her family stalked and harassed if she continues to criticize Uber.
Lesson Learned: It is always a challenge for companies to manage critics, especially if they are influential people like the media. Regardless if their claims are true or not, releasing statements that pose harm and cause emotional and mental distress to your critics or anyone, for that matter, is never an acceptable response. Even if it is a negative publicity against your company, find ways to turn the perspective to your favor by acknowledging facts and reacting with grace and integrity, on and off the record.
Bank of America’s Twitter Bots Fail
Mark Hamilton raised his opposition against Bank of America on Twitter after he was told to leave by the cops for obstructing the sidewalk. But when people replied to his sentiments and Bank of America’s twitter caught the mentions, instead of a consoling remark, it was an auto-response from a Twitter bot. This obviously showed the lack of empathy by Bank of America in their social media—nothing personal, no connection, just business as per usual.
Lesson Learned: The mere fact that the customer took it to the streets to talk to you about a customer concern, already speaks so much of a company’s customer service. Hamilton’s action may have been wrong, but it could be his desperate attempt to have Bank of America to listen to him. And this was just reinforced by the bots they used in replying to Twitter rants. An excellent customer service provides a listening ear, genuine care and practical-honest solutions to its customers. Twitter is an avenue where most customers vent out their frustrations from companies, and using bots to reply to those is definitely not a good way to respond to feedbacks. It doesn’t establish good relations with your customers nor help you rectify the issue. As much as possible, make your social media your “personal” connection to customers because this is where customers are most vulnerable. They want feel to that there is a person behind the brand that they are patronizing which can seal all the more their loyalty with you.
Do not let your business get caught in the same customer service mistakes these companies have made. Let the lessons gleaned from these customer service fails be your guide to polish your customer service delivery for the next year and ensure a rewarding experience for all your customers.
Nowadays, the traditional landline phone customer service that businesses have may not serve your customers well—considering that we’re living in the technology era. Having customer support in other types of network such as through online and mobile are some of the customer assistance services we have, which can take your entire customer service to a whole new level. Learn more!