Recovering from Bad Customer Service

I love good customer service.

Receiving excellent service from a company / person makes me feel good…it makes me happy and makes me excited to revisit that company or person for future business.

The opposite is also true…I hate bad customer service.  I hate it with a passion.

I understand that great people and companies provide poor service occasionally. Every company has issues with their customer service.  Sometimes you catch someone on a bad day…sometimes you fall into a process ‘crack’ and your issue is missed.

The difference between a great company with great service and an average/poor company…is actually in the fact that the company / person realizes that they made a mistake and then how they respond to that mistake.  The difference is how a company recovers from bad service.

Recently I ran into a company that I’d classify in the ‘worst service’ department – at least initially. I’m not going to name any names here but I want to share the experience.

I ordered a device from this company to use for streaming shows and movies at home. Rather than order through a retailer like I normally would, i decided to buy directly from the company…big mistake on my part.

After a reasonable time, I received the unit. I unpacked it and plugged it in.  And nothing happened.  I unplugged everything and reattached it…again nothing.

I took the unit to another TV and tried it there.  Nothing.

After multiple attempts and much research online, I came to the conclusion that this unit was dead-on-arrival.  So…I went to the company’s website to find their support information to ask for help.

I submitted a support ticket…and was told afterwards that they’d be in touch within 48 hours.  48 hours is an awful long time to wait for a response…but I figured I’d give them a chance. 3 days later I still had no response.

So…I tried to call them.  Nothing…I couldn’t get to a live person.  So..I tried their live chat.  Nothing….it wouldn’t connect me at all.  So…I emailed them again.  Nothing.

Finally…I tried the last ditch effort…I went to Twitter.

Funny…after I ‘tweeted’ them that I couldn’t get any response, I received a response from their social media team.  It was quick, courteous and provided me with contact info.  Funnily enough…I also received a response from their Customer Service team within a few hours.

That response via email was short and worthless…it basically said ‘thank you for contacting us…please try to plug the unit in somewhere else’.  Worthless.

After a week of back and forth via email and attempted phone calls, I was still waiting for a resolution.  I’ve been told to call their 800 number to get an RMA for the power supply so I can get a new one…but I’ve yet to be able to get in touch with anyone at their 800 number.  Worthless.

So now I sit here waiting again. I’ve had this unit for a week with no luck. I’ve reached out to their service department multiple times with no luck.  Their social media team seems to be willing to help but I’ve yet to see any results from their intervention.

All i want is a working unit or a refund…but these folks don’t seem to understand how to respond in a manner that provides any level of confidence that they have a clue what Customer Service actually means.

This morning, I received a phone call from an engineer at the company who started the call with a profuse apology and asked for my address so he could overnight a new product to me.  He didn’t ask me for any particular details about the box that doesn’t work…he didn’t ask me to send it back or do anything else with it…he just apologized and said that I’d be receiving a new box soon.

With this one act, this engineer made a very bad situation much better. Has he redeemed the company in my eyes? No. Has he made up for their lack of service? No.  But…he has started down the right road.

This company is on the road to recovering from a really really bad situation…let’s hope they follow through on their promises and I have a new unit in my hands before the end of the week.

Still, the question has to be asked…can you truly recover from bad customer service? Although this engineer is working towards a recovery, will I ever trust this company again enough to order from them and/or recommend their products?  I’m not sure…we’ll see how the next few days go.

13 responses to “Recovering from Bad Customer Service”

  1. tomcatalini Avatar

    Customer service is a love/hate situation. I evaluate it in the same manner.

    It’s interesting that you don’t mention the perpetrator here, but I guess that doesn’t matter so much to the story.

    I think there is almost always a chance to turn these things around. People are very forgiving, and many bad experiences/memories can be wiped clear with one (or more) really good ones.

    Either way, people are compelled to share the story – like you have done here. And that’s what those in customer service really need to be more cognizant of.

    Finally, it’s interesting that the company has a social media presence and is listening and responsive there. Sounds like that team is facing a bit of an uphill battle, though, It’s a reminder that customer service can never really succeed when it’s thought of as an add on rather than core principle.

    1. ericbrown Avatar

      @tomcatalini Thanks Tom. I started to share the name of the company but decided to opt out of that…I didn’t want this to be just a company bashing story but to be more of a learning experience.

      You are very right….to be successful, customer service must be something that is approached from teh very beginning as something that is important to get right. Trying to turn the tide on a bad service experience is difficult but sometimes it occurs.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Kaity_FL Avatar

    Interesting question Eric. I would like to believe that companies can recover from bad customer service, but not if they are too ignorant to recognize there is a problem in the first place. In my most recent experience traveling, I stayed at a place that pleased me in all aspects except for the front desk hospitality. I even wrote my first negative review ever as a result:

    I am convinced that the comment that came in after mine was not genuine. That person must have been at the same wedding I was at and I know that no one actually wrote that. I think it is probably someone from Kingwood doing damage control. It’s so great that as consumers we can utilize reviews, but I am skeptical as to whether or not they are all real.

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