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What is the worst customer service experience you have ever had and what did you learn?

Not sure what you all think about this question but I find that all these experiences add up to understanding what I really don't want my customers to deal with. I still remember that musician that cause the stock of United to drop as seen here.

4 Replies

Shel Horowitz: Shel AT GreenAndProfitable com
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I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing
Smart business owners understand that customer service is part of marketing--and that no amount of (expensive) marketing will undo bad customer service. This is something I talka bout in many of my books, including the most recent, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.

I have boycotted a number of businesses that treated me shabbily--including a movie theater that sold my 12-year-old self an adult ticket and made me sit in the children's section. I have not been back in the 47 years since. But the worst was our local Toyota dealership. We had a long and extended bad interaction with them that culminated in a phone call, "you have 24 hours to get your car out of our lot--and by the way, the engine is in pieces in the trunk." Not only did I write a five-page complaint letter with full documentation to the VP of customer relations for Toyota USA (which gave a too-little-too-late form-letter make-good offer a year later), not only did I never buy as much as a tube of touchup paint from that dealer for the rest of their career and was not sorry when they closed--but the next time I went car shopping, I didn't even seriously consider Toyota and bought a competing brand. That was the first time I bought a car not built or designed by Toyota since 1981--they threw away decades of strong brand loyalty.
Gabor Nagy
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Gabor Nagy Entrepreneur
Founder / Chief architect at Skyline Robotics
Comcast. Hands down.
My cable was damaged outside (animals chew through it). It took me 30 minutes to convince them that the problem wasn't inside my apartment.
They made an appointment for a tech to come out.
I took the day off from work (they give a wide window, in the middle of a work day). The guy never showed up. After multiple, frustrating phone calls and hours on hold, I got to a rep, claiming that he couldn't make another appointment for me, because I already have one scheduled.
???
He could not tell me the date of the supposed appointment. Another call later, I found out that out, they had scheduled it for the year 9999! (we'll all be immortal robots by then, with entertainment directly downloaded into our brains. No need for cable TV.)
Yes, that's 8000 years from now!
You can't make this up.
Their system somehow allowed this and they've never caught it. Apparently, basic checking of data input, is considered rocket science at Comcast.
The guy could not cancel it. I had to call back again...
No TV, no internet for a month.

Gabor Nagy
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Gabor Nagy Entrepreneur
Founder / Chief architect at Skyline Robotics
More recently, my wife insisted on getting a cable TV box (why would you want that awful thing? We have YouTube, Amazon etc. and over-the-air HD TV). Comcast gave us this box with no HDMI out. Just composite video.
You literally can not buy a TV nowadays with composite video in.
You'd have to go to a museum.
We found an older box she used a while back, in the shed. It had HDMI out.
It worked for 2 days. Then, it stopped for no reason. I tried everything. Got another appointment.
The guy casually tells me that they remotely disabled the HDMI output without telling us, because their new policy requires that you have an HD cable subscription for another X dollars a month. My wife didn't care about HD for something she'd use a couple of times a week.
So, if you have a TV that's less than 20 years old, you literally can't use their cable boxes, unless you pay extra for HD. Even if you don't want HD (it was working fine with standard def).
Thankfully, my wife saw the light and gave up on the cable box. Turns out, she can watch her favorite shows in HD, online. For free.
On the Comcast Web site.
Of course, they don't tell you any of this. They make you go through weeks of frustration and multiple phone calls / appointments.

Shel Horowitz: Shel AT GreenAndProfitable com
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I help organizations thrive by building social transformation into your products, your services, and your marketing
I expanded my earlier reply into a full-fledged blog post, with many more examples and lessons. I think you'll find it worth reading:http://greenandprofitable.com/why-ive-boycotted-my-neighborhood-theater-since-1979/
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