When You Receive the Opposite of Customer Service

Updated: Jan 3

Written by: Larry Goodfellow

Frustration at the Post Office

Sometimes these blog posts are more cathartic than one can imagine. Recently I was having coffee with a friend and he began telling me his customer experience nightmare. His story is a first-hand account of what happens when customer service goes horribly wrong. I asked him if he would mind sharing his account for this article. But the most interesting part was asking him how he would feel the situation could be remedied. After all, it’s one thing to complain but it’s another to come up with a solution. Below is the account of my friend’s customer service debacle. The truly frustrating part of the experience is that the customers frustrations will never truly reach the top, and can be blocked by low level managers. This inability to reach the top, is solved through Market Research Online Communities.

His story begins two months ago, when he was in his local grocery store which also happens to contain a post office. He rarely uses the post office in the grocery store but a few months he did so. There was a woman in front of him who was mailing a parcel, and the woman working behind the counter was speaking rudely to the woman in front of him, making her seem like she should know better for choosing the envelope she did, as well as some other minor infractions the customer was accused of violating. Then it was his turn, and as my friend recounted the story he couldn’t remember exactly what she said but it was more the tone that she used when she spoke to him. “When she began talking to me in this tone, I asked for someone else to serve me and told her that I will not tolerate being talked down to.” After another worker helped him he was still furious and asked the worker for the name of her co-worker. “I left so frustrated and sent the manager an email explaining what had happened. I received back an email saying that he would personally look into the matter and emailed me back after looking into the matter saying that she had been warned not to be rude to customers.” He felt validated, and that his concern had been heard.

Repeat Offences

Fast forward to this past Monday, when he made another visit to the same store to mail a parcel and though he had been back since, he had not seen the worker with whom he had the previous problem. Walking up to the line, he instantly recognized the woman who had spoken so rudely previously. “As I settled in line, there was an Asian woman in front of me who didn’t speak English very well. She was there to mail a parcel. The woman behind the counter began to scold her as if she was a child. The way she was talking to her was very condescending. My mouth dropped, could this really be happening again? I waited a moment, but it continued. My only two encounters with this woman and both times were shocking. I intervened and asked her to please show some respect to this woman, and talk politely to her. I felt like I was a coach in the Rio Olympics wanting a replay. Clearly a foul had been committed.”

After scolding the employee, he requested to speak to a manager and they said that there was no manager in, but that I could talk to another man in the office which was only about 10 feet away. “I went in and asked to make a complaint. The man, who identified himself as ‘the manager's sidekick,’ asked what the problem was and stuck his head out the door after I explained, and looked at the counter and said, ‘everyone looks happy,’ totally dismissing my comment. I left furious.” When my friend got home he pulled up his previous email he had sent and wrote up a detailed account.

After giving me the detailed account I asked my friend how he hoped to see the issue resolved. “I want her fired and 200 hours of community service to be given,” stated my friend with a big smile.  “No, to be honest the part that made me the angriest was the fact that I was blocked from taking this any higher. In this current situation as a loyal customer I felt powerless. I want to know that my complaint is being taken seriously and if it isn’t, that I can take it to a higher to a more senior person until I am heard.”

MROC’s Create a Direct Line

I thought about his answer, and realized that is why branded communities are so important for customer service and for senior level management. An MROC allows the customer to have a direct line to the upper management, and allows the upper management to go through the comments of its customers to see persistent problems not being handled properly. This worker with the bad attitude has probably cost the store thousands of dollars in repeat business, because customers don’t want to be disrespected and will eventually choose to shop where they feel welcome. Had my friend not been insistent on taking this to the manager he probably would have left and never returned after dealing with the “manager’s side kick.”

If you would like to learn more about how communities can help your company with customer service please feel free to contact us at Insightrix Communities.

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