When Customer Service Goes Horribly Wrong!

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I had one of the worst customer service experiences in my life recently. As often happens when customer service goes wrong, a bad experience on one hand turned into a learning experience on the other.  

An Real Life Example

When Customer Service Goes Wrong - Sales Tips from B2B Sales Connections
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I won't go into all of the gory details (there are many) of when customer service went wrong. Let me just give you a few of the lowlights (there were no highlights). 

Basically my problem was that when I went to the web interface that the company provided me, the information that was supposed to show was not always appearing.  It was inconsistent.  One minute it was there, the next it was not.  There is no doubt that my problem is a technical issue, and it definitely is on their end.

Bad Customer Service Wastes Time AND Money

The most recent call was about the eighth contact with this company's service department, with each call being escalated to a higher level of support.  Not only is this incredible expensive and labour intensive for the company, it was very frustrating for me as each person I spoke to was just looking for a new way to tell me that the problem was with my computer.  Each person was over complicating things, none would believe what I was saying, and all believed me to be incompetent.

If You Don’t Listen, It’s Poor Customer Service

On my last call, I was first asked if I was close to my computer and if it was turned on.  (I am not kidding).  After then being asked to once again give remote access to my computer, I refused.  On more than one occasion, I stated 'No there is no need for you to access my computer, you are not understanding my problem.  Please go to the site and tell me what you see!'  At one point, I literally had to scream into the phone and say, 'Stop interrupting me, and listen to me!' 

Finally! Someone actually went to the site and had a look.  Finally! They understood what I had been saying over and over again.  Finally! They agreed it was a technical issue on their end.

Lessons Learned From When Customer Service Goes Wrong

So what lessons did I learn?  Firstly, don't just hear what the customer is saying, actually listen to what they are saying.  Above all else, don't use the time that your customer is talking just to think of a new way to say the exact same thing you just said.

Secondly, when dealing with a customer service issue, peel back the layers of the onion and solve the actual problem, not just the symptoms to the problem.  Sometimes the fix may be easy, but finding the actual cause may be the hard part.  Stick with it though because by doing so, you will save everyone time, money and frustration.

7 Steps to A Better Customer Experience

When I look at these lessons, it is clear there is a process involved to solving bad customer service. Vocalcom decribes this process in 7 steps with the first two being:

  1. Listen to the customer and show genuine empathy
  2. Assess the situation

Clearly, if any one of the customer service representatives had started with these 2 steps, we all would have save a lot of time, money, and frustration.

So how were things left with my issue? I am to contact them if the problem reoccurs. Right…I will get right on that.

Customer Service and Sales Opportunities

The same is true in a sales situation.  Make sure your solution solves the prospect's real problems, not just what he thinks are his problems. 

Ask questions to clarify and dig down to the root causes. 

Remember, better the fact find, happier the customer, better the paycheque!

Sample Fact Find Questions to Win More Sales Faster

    The Bottom Line

    Often bad customer services issues are not the customer service rep’s fault. Often, the root cause are bad management practices. Regardless of who is to blame, we all have to realize customer service issues are inevitable and it’s everyone’s responsibilty to know how to handle them.

    Remember, the fact is a customer complaint is just an opportunity for improvement in disguise. Fix the problem quickly and efficiently and the customer will be more loyal than if the problem never happened in the first place. After all, as Bob Hooey once said, “If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will.”

    Aim Higher!

    Susan A. EnnsB2B Sales Coach and Author
    Schedule a free sales coaching strategy session with Susan here.

    “… what I can tell anyone, is simply this – If you want to learn and understand sales, talk to Susan.”

    Want to know how to build trust with both your current and future customers so you can close more sales faster? Then check out our webinar on demand, How to Build Trust Into Your Sales Process so You Can Sell More Faster. As one attendee said, “Your sessions are too good for any salesperson to miss.”

    0 thoughts on “When Customer Service Goes Horribly Wrong!

    1. Nothing like a good rant to make one feel better. :>)

      The sad part is that you were pushed to the point of having to do this rant. I’m only disappointed that the company name wasn’t mentioned as you might have help a number of other people avoid the high blood pressure that poor customer service can cause.

    2. The most valuable part of this article is the lesson learned and advice to make the conscious effort to learn from the mistakes of others. Long term relationship building in consultative sales relies heavily on learning your customers’ true needs; you need to be the resource that they trust to consistently solve their problems.

    3. Thanks Dave! If I had been listened to and the issue had been handled properly in the first place, I would have become a more loyal customer than if the problem had never occured in the first place. As it stands now, I am evaluating other options. Thanks again.

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