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11 Terrible Customer Service Experiences That Will Leave You Speechless

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Customer service experiences are the bread and butter of dinner conversations. They’re so memorable!

When they’re great, we tell others. When they’re bad, we tell others with fervor! Here are 11 amazingly terrible customer service experiences so cringe-worthy you’ll be glad they didn’t happen to you! Take note, brands.

Don’t ever let one of these stories be about you.

1. “I don’t understand”

Comcast Customer Service

PC: The Comic News

You can always trust Comcast for amazingly terrible customer service experiences, like this one from Elaine B.


I was trying to get some information from Comcast about my bill, but couldn’t understand the different groupings of channels, which had no explanation, just names like 'Extended Package.' [The representative] couldn’t explain it, and kept getting the same channels in different groupings. I said, very politely, “I don’t understand your explanation, is there someone else who can explain it to me so I will understand it.” She replied: “You’re stupid.” Then she hung up.


[Source]

2. “Nails are only for pretty girls”

Nails are for Pretty Girls Customer Service

If Reddit is good for anything, it’s bringing to light the worst of humanity. Here’s proof shared by user ChaosMind55.


I was looking around a new little shop that opened up in the mall. I was just looking at the stuff when a couple came in and started to look around, too. An employee went over and said: "Nails are only for pretty girls." The girlfriend of the couple had fake nails on and just got told she didn't look good in them in the rudest way ever.


[Source]

Related: 3 Simple Steps to Provide the Customer Experience Millennials Want

3. “A free Bloody Mary”

Bloody Mary Customer Service Experiences

Nearly every restaurant says customer service is their #1 priority. Clearly that isn’t checked very often!


After spilling a tray of two Bloody Marys on my white dress shirt, the crying server returned (after I changed my shirt) to apologize and deliver a free Bloody Mary ... which she then spilled on my fresh white dress shirt.


[Source]

4. “I knew you wouldn’t buy”

Gasp Retailers Customer Service Experience

Assumptions can be helpful, but usually end with everyone getting hurt, as confirmed by this horrendous shopping experience and reported by The Telegraph.


It all started on Monday, when bride-to-be Keira O'Neill, with bridesmaids in tow, tried on a pink wedding dress in their store. The shop assistant tried a hard sell and when he failed to secure the sale, he apparently suggested to size-12 Keira that 'with your figure I really think you should buy it.' As the wedding contingent left, he truculently declared: 'I knew you girls were a joke the minute you walked in.'

The incident, unsurprisingly, resulted in a perfectly polite but indignant email from Keira to the company. The response from Gasp was, well, breathtaking. There was no hint of an apology; instead, a series of arrogant defences of the company and the 'superstar' shop assistant who apparently is 'too good at what he does... and doesn't like his time being wasted.'


On the bright side, it seems that all Gasp locations have since shut down. Apparently treating (potential) customers like filth is a poor business move. Go figure!

[Source]

Related: Should Customer Service for Millennials Be Any Different?

5. “Daughter Killed in Car Crash”

Daughter Car Crash Customer Service

As if it’s not enough to lose a child in a horrific accident, Office Max took insensitivity to a whole new level by mailing this letter to the deceased's father.


[The letter] says 'Mike Seay, Daughter Killed In Car Crash, or Current Business...' This is my home. Why would they have that kind of information? Why would they need that? ... The [call center] manager told us 'That can't happen.' Later that day, Office Max released a statement that the information came from a third party provider, and seemed to be an 'inadvertent error.'


[Source]

6. “Why can’t you just get the receipts”

Dillard's Customer Service

Losing a loved one and sorting out their affairs is awful. When the Dillard’s cashier gets snippy about it, it’s even worse, as reported by AOL reader KRSRSS3.


When I was 18, my mother died of lung cancer. She had clothes that she had purchased during her illness that she had never even taken the tags off to wear. My father asked me to return the clothes to Dillard's ... I did not have the receipts ... [The cashier] was very rude in the way that she was asking me, 'Why can't you just get the receipts from your mom to get the credit?' I then told her that she had just died and she proceeded to look into my face and say, 'Well, you don't look too sad about it.'


7. “You didn’t need it”

Hosting Party Customer Service

Hosting a mega-party is stressful. It’s downright terrible when you’re dealing with scum, just like what happened here with Lisa R.


I was hosting a party for 150 people and needed catering prices 7 weeks prior to the party to review bids, select a caterer, or determine another venue. I had a drop-dead due date and explained that. When I contacted the caterer for prices because they hadn’t contacted me by the morning of the due date, my main contact was on vacation and left no information. I was fuming. Obviously, they did not get my business. When I finally reached the caterer to determine how they could have made such an error, he said “I decided you didn’t need it by your due date.”


[Source]

Related: How to Use Text Messaging (SMS) as a Customer Service and Support Tool

8. “Nice act”

Diabetic Shock Customer Experience

Why do people instinctively think everyone’s trying to cheat and steal? Here’s another case of assumptions gone wrong in a very memorable way.


One of our friends from out of town has type 1 diabetes. While we stood there waiting for a table, his hands began to shake. It looked like he was going into diabetic shock, which can be prevented by a quick infusion of sugar, from, say, a glass of orange juice... So one of us frantically asked one of the servers behind the bar for a glass of orange juice. Our friend is diabetic, she told him, and needs some orange juice ASAP. The server looked at our friend's shaking hands, looked at her, and said: "Nice act." ...Our friend went into shock. He shook uncontrollably and collapsed on the floor. We called an ambulance. The paramedics came, took him outside and helped him get his blood sugar level back to normal.


[Source]

9. “Your call is important to us”

It’s a fact of life that Comcast is the worst, earning them two spots on our list of amazingly terrible customer service experiences. And yet, when you try to get rid of them, they won’t let you! Maybe that's why Aaron Spain was placed on hold for 3 1/2 hours until their service department closed.


I refused to hang up as I wasn't going to give them any reason to keep my service active. There would be no 'well you did hang up before we could get to you' nonsense. I had been attempting to get a service technician out from Aug 21st through August 5th [sic?]. I'd had 3-4 service calls scheduled, all of them no calls no shows, and no reason as to why they can't get the service done. At this point I was trying to cancel service. I was transferred to the "retention" department at 7:17pm. I'm uploading this video at 10:19pm.


[Source]

10. “We pity the groom”

Restaurant Bad Customer Service Experience

The problem with restaurants is that it only takes one rogue server to dismantle the establishment. A group of girls went in to create one of the happiest memories of their lives, and instead walked out with the exact opposite. Here's coverage from The Telegraph and Oddee.


Melissa Grogan-Morgan celebrated her upcoming nuptials at 47 King Street West in Manchester city with a group of 17 friends and family. Although they enjoyed the food, the party was left dissatisfied with the level of customer service they'd received from staff, and took to Facebook to complain about the poor service. The one-star review prompted a scathing response from an unnamed member of staff who called the group 'ugly,' 'cheap chav trash,' 'the worst, most vile people to ever grace our restaurant,' and added, 'we pity the groom.'


[Source]

Related: Customer Experience Questions You Absolutely Need to Answer

11. “I’m a busy person”

Citibank Customer Service

PC: Fickle Finance

Hearing scripts is deplorable, because you usually know it’s a script, and that the person “helping” you couldn’t care less about your situation. Citibank shows us just how miserable these situations can be, as told by Kate Nasser.


There was a charge on my Citibank Mastercard from a vendor who renewed my $400 membership without asking me. I spoke with the vendor and he agreed to send a credit into the credit card company for the charge. Since the credit card bill was due in 15 days, I called the credit card company to ensure that I wouldn’t have to pay $400 up front only to have it credited back later. The rep who answered the phone went into his long drawn out scripted answer. I asked to speak with a supervisor and after waiting on hold, the supervisor started another scripted answer. I said, 'I am a busy person and I just need a simple direct answer instead of the script.' He replied: 'I am sorry you called when you were busy. We are open 24 hours a day.'


[Source]

Bringing It All Together

How each member of your brand treats customers and potential customers is paramount! The one thing people remember, and the one thing they tend to vocalize most, is how they’re treated.

How simple did you make things? How polite were you? Did you go out of your way to make the situation better? These are the questions people ask during all of their customer service experiences.

What’s worse, almost 80% of consumers are frustrated with their customer service options! After all, who wants to wait on hold for half an hour (or more) before they can talk to anyone?

An astounding 82% of consumers passionately want another customer service option! They want something that’s quicker, easier. Something that’s generally more convenient and results in better customer service experiences.

Consumers want the option to text with your brand. There’s no waiting on hold, conversations can be instantaneous or over time to easily fit the consumer’s schedule.

By nature, every conversation is permanently recorded. And consumers generally prefer and do everything else through their smartphones already! It’s a win-win and a no-brainer. Learn more about how texting can improve your customer service experiences at textrequest.com.

Related: Startup Journal: Handling Customer Service