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Bad customer service makes my blood boil

I ebb and flow through a lot of passions in life, but one that I always come back to is customer service.

Bad customer service abhors me. Especially when if comes from places where you expect it the least, like restaurants, hotels, and airplanes. You know, places that exist solely to provide a service.

Last year I got so worked up over a horrible experience on two consecutive Air Canada flights that I purchased the domain name customerserviceiseverything.com. My intent was to blog about that experience, and others (good or bad).

I won’t go into full details about those two trips, but lets just say it involved the cabin crew shouting abuse at a mom and a baby and a poor old man who didn’t understand English.

I got into a full-blown argument with the head of the cabin crew in front of everyone. Needless to say it wasn’t pretty.

She even did this to me:

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Whenever I witness rudeness or a blatant disregard for the art of customer service, my blood boils.

I’m by no means an expert, but I like to think I can tow the line when it comes to treating customers amazingly well. Perhaps it’s from my little but significant experience in some very trying customer-facing roles.

Like that time I was a concierge at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa. When you work for a four star hotel like Starwood, you develop a very high standard for how guests should be treated. Establishments like that wouldn’t stay in business otherwise.

So I got to thinking about what “good” and “bad” customer service looks like. Sometimes, you just know it when you see it. Other times, there will be people like me sitting next to you in a restaurant, pointing it out for everyone to see (and asking to speak to the manager).

But for argument’s sake, I made a list of what classifies for both good and bad service. Here it is:

Good customer service is:

  • Polite and helpful representatives
  • Quick navigation process
  • Troubleshooters
  • Good customer focused attitude

Bad customer service is:

  • Failure to return contact
  • Difficulty finding contact info.
  • Lengthy and repetitive/redundant explanation process
  • Uninformed representative
  • Refusal to escalate to management
  • Rude
  • Different response/story every time
  • Barriers to answers or resolution
  • Lengthy or bothersome returns process
  • On hold for too long/dropped calls
  • Discrepancy across customer service touch points (social vs inbound call center)
  • Process that goes on longer than 1 month
  • Representatives that make excuses for other departments – blamers
  • Bad attitude

Surprisingly, the list for good service is quite simple. It’s amazing how happy customers will be if you get these things right. The list for bad is far more extensive. Which just goes to show how easily things can go bad if you don’t have the right people with the right attitudes representing your business.

Maybe I’ve oversimplified the good vs. the bad. But the point I want to hit home is this: a positive attitude is the best first impression your customer can have. If your customer-facing staff tick these four boxes of good service, almost all the other issues associated with bad customer service (i.e. outmoded or inefficient processes) will more often than not be overlooked.

One Comment

  1. Vicki Vicki

    The old adage “The Customer is always right!” may have disappeared over the last few decades but it still holds true 🙂

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