The Power of a Negative Customer Experience

The Power of a Negative Customer Experience

Bathrooms are For Customers OnlyIt amazes me how many businesses disregard the needs of their customers or even potential customers. With increased competition from online retailers, those with physical locations need to go the extra mile for the customer. Even those with online presences need to do their best to retain the customers they have while attracting new ones.

With social media and blogs, customers can spread the word – positive and negative – about a business. Remember the old adage:

An unhappy customer will tell 20 people about their experience, while a happy customer will tell five.

Today, an unhappy person can trumpet their displeasure with the world. It's no longer them telling 20 people, it's them telling anyone who will listen. And with various rating sites such as Yelp, the collective voice of the consumer is more like a roar.

Several months ago, my wife and I stopped receiving our Sunday paper from a major newspaper. We had received it without issue for nine months and then out of the blue, it stopped being delivered. I went online and filed a claim to have a credit applied. No problem. The following week, the same thing happened and I called customer service. They assured me that a new paper would be delivered. It wasn't. The following week – week #3 for those of you keeping score – I woke up and found no paper. I called and asked to speak to a supervisor who also gave me their word that they would have the paper delivered. We did receive that one, but I shouldn't have had to call. Week #4 brought the same result and I was ticked. I took to Twitter and tweeted, and tweeted, and tweeted again.

Surprisingly, I received a reply from someone at the paper, monitoring their social feed. Since I was getting nowhere with their “local” customer service, they escalated the issue. We did eventually receive the paper. But then the following week, guess what, the same thing happened and I once again took to the Twitterverse:

Another week and still no Sunday @(company) newspaper delivery. 3 calls to customer service & no paper. #epicfail.

Unfortunately, the issue continued without any sort of resolution. Sure, they continued to offer us a “credit” to our account, but why? If they couldn't deliver the paper to begin with, why go through the continued hassle? The decision was made to cancel our subscription. My wife and I didn't want much, just what was promised to us and more importantly, what we paid for. It got to the point to where I'm wasting my time trying to get something I'm owed. My time has value.

The moral in all of this is whatever business you're in, you need to deliver on your promise and provide absolutely stellar customer service. Empower  your employees to handle even trivial issues. Cut through all the bureaucratic red tape and let your people take care of the customer. Even if you have no employees, you need to do what you can to satisfy your customers. Under promise, over deliver and create a “wow” experience. Anything less, and you're probably costing yourself money.

What do you think? Have you had any negative customer service experiences that have forced you to stop shopping a particular store or using a particular service?

Image by DoctorWho

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