Building a brand image has never been as challenging as it is now with snaps, tweets, and stories being sent out and the rate at which things are going viral. Yet, there are some brands with a very public presence and the most abysmal customer service experiences.
If we look at the repercussions of bad customer service, 52% of the customers badmouth the company to their social circles, and 32% tend to terminate their business with them. However, when it comes to social media backlash in response to events like these, 60% of the consumer body gets negatively impacted by the chatter online.
Cox customer service has a support system for your internet that never lets you down, come hell or high water.
From the choices of bad customer experiences, where the brand could go from average to below average, they chose to be downright horrible for the customers. Interestingly those are the exact experiences that have gone viral.
Let’s look at some of those, just for the laughs.
The Dead Dad’s Bills
Apparently, Verizon believes that acquiring the pin number from a dead guy is a walk in the park. After her father passed away in December 2009, Cynthia Lacy requested to have his service canceled, but the phone company continued to bill her until March 2010.
Despite the fact that she had requested to have the service canceled immediately after he passed away, the customer service was adamant that she must provide his PIN. Who would want to subscribe to a company that deals with its customers with such a lack of empathy? After Cynthia went public with the story, Verizon eventually apologized and canceled the subscription in addition to a refund.
The Fat-Phobic Airline
I found this gem on Business Insider. American film producer and film director Kevin Smith was asked to remove himself from the plane by Southwest Airlines. The captain was concerned that Smith was “Too fat to fly”.
Smith did what anyone would do in a situation like this, name and shame. He tweeted about it. Naturally, because of his followership, the story went viral in a short time and aired on mainstream platforms. Southwest had to apologize as an aftermath.
More Airline Customer Service Fails
Two passengers flying to Vienna through Air Canada refused to take their seats because they reeked of vomit. At first the staff refused to accept that there was a smell. When the other people on the flight backed up the two passengers, they accepted that there was in fact a smell.
It was revealed that the passengers on the previous flight threw up and they attempted a quick clean to before the flight was boarded and did not have time for a thorough one. At which the passengers, while remaining polite, asked for blankets to cover the seats.
After they settled in, who appears but the captain, proclaiming that the passengers need to leave and arrange for alternate travel otherwise they will be forcibly removed and put on the no-fly list. They were eventually forcibly removed. After the story went viral Air Canada apologized for this behavior.
Find Your Cable Box Even if You Can’t Find Your Phone
Charter Communications of Alabama pulled a new one. After a horrifying series of tornados that destroyed numerous homes, the company had an unusual request. In the midst of the rubble of people’s belongings and livelihoods, they decreed that the customers need to also look for their lost cable boxes.
What is more, while complete communities and neighborhoods were wiped off, Charter Communication of Alabama threatened to fine the customers for lost equipment in case they were not able to find their respective cable boxes. You cannot make this up!
How to Improve Your Customer Service
If there is a school for customer loyalty, we can name a few companies that need to enroll fast. Here are some tips right off the bad to ensure you don’t have the basics of customer service wrong.
- Exercise empathy with the customer.
- Understand their needs and consider their feedback.
- Set a clear standard of service and ensure it.
- Be politically correct.
- Avoid poor automated responses. Use AI to improve on them.
- Be available. Don’t leave them hanging.
- Shorten the waiting period.
- Do not transfer a customer support call too many times.
- Provide omnichannel support.
That’s All Folks!
It has been proven over time that a disappointed or offended customer does not just get angry. More often than not, they try to get even with the company. It’s better to learn from mistakes, yours or others’ instead of losing business. Airtight customer service is something that can make or break a brand. This is why successful enterprises invest a lot of capital in their customer service department.