What’s scarier for businesses than a one-eyed zombie clown lumbering at you with a chainsaw?
The thought of losing $41 billion a year.
That’s right: poor customer service costs U.S. businesses over $40 billion dollars each year. Top frustrations include unhelpful staff, being put on hold, being passed around to multiple agents and the agents’ lack of knowledge. In fact, over 50% of people are so frustrated at the thought of calling a business that they will switch to a competitor without trying to solve the problem.
To get into the Halloween spirit, we thought we’d share the most hauntingly horrific customer service horror stories we’ve had on the phone. Read on…if you dare!
The Case of the Disappearing Furniture
I bought a sectional from a home furniture store that was to be delivered to a new townhouse the week I was moving in. The sales person assured me it would be there on a specific day between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. It didn’t show up on that day so I called the store where I purchased it. The sales person wasn’t in so they gave me the number of their customer support. They were unable to to locate it. I was told it shipped from California, but that was all they knew and they would get in touch when it arrived in Denver.
Meanwhile, my living room is now composed of camp chairs of various colors and sizes. Three days go by and I call them only to be told, “Oh yeah, it’s in Denver at a warehouse, but we don’t know where or when they can deliver it.” I ask for the number of the warehouse and am told they are not allowed to give it out.
Finally, I ask for a manager and am told they are in a meeting. I am promised that it will be on a delivery truck in the morning. They next day nothing arrives and I call back. Same story from them. I threaten to just return it and go somewhere else and miraculously they locate it and deliver it the next day. The delivery men scratch the floor and are unapologetic.
I wrote an email to the company explaining the experience. Still haven’t heard back. –Grant
I haven’t called them personally, but I’ve heard of a consumer goods company with hold times between 4-7 hours long. Seriously. People really want to buy their product. During the hold, they play a series of voice recordings. This sucks since you can’t just put it on speaker and hope to notice when a real voice comes on. –Kevin
The Haunted Email Account
I called into my email provider’s customer service when I noticed my emails were in British time and my news page was all British news. I was worried that someone had maybe tried to hack into my account. The first guy I reached helped me try and change my computer settings; when that didn’t work, he transferred me to someone else. After suggesting the same solution the first guy had, he told me he could externally reboot my email account and then monitor my computer remotely for any changes if I paid $129. I denied wanting this service several times after he kept pitching it, and eventually got so frustrated that I hung up. I asked one of my coworkers for help and he got since he had experienced the problem too, he helped me figure it out in under a minute. –Gigi
The IVR Road to Nowhere
I have called into a pharmacy and been placed on hold, told I was the next customer in line, then given a repetitive voice message telling me how much I was valued. After 10 minutes, the system drops the call. This went on 4 times before someone finally picked up. I explained my frustration with experience and was told that they implemented a new phone system that was acting weird (not the case). This still happens months later. No sympathy from the people on the other end just excuses. –Grant
Photo by Flickr user Saleh Almoqaibel.