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Customer Service Horror Stories

On a recent trip to the mall, we were less than impressed with the level of service out there.  But, wrapped in every story, good or bad, is a great lesson, so we just had to share.  As you read through these tales of horror and woe,   pray that it wasn’t you we observed playing the villain.  We’re sure you’ll agree … this stuff is ugly!

  • We’re standing at the check out in one particular store and can’t help but notice the how completely bored and disenchanted the cashier looks.  When we comment that he doesn’t seem to want to be there, the response we get is “I’d rather be anywhere else.”  Time for a wake-up call!  If you really don’t want your job and are prepared to behave this way in front of customers, then do yourself and everyone else a favour and move on!
  • We’re trying to buy a pair of skates from a well-known retailer.  After waiting a full five minutes for the staff to break up what is obviously a full-fledged ‘gab fest’, someone finally approaches us.  If this weren’t bad enough, she soon discovers that she doesn’t know anything about the product we’re interested in and decides to go find the ‘expert’.  What happens next?  You guessed it … no one ever returns to help us!
  • As we wait patiently to pay for our purchases in another store, a staff member ‘butts in’ at the front of the line.  Why?  He needs change to use the vending machine on his break.  What’s up with that?  Whatever happened to the cardinal rule?  You know, the one that proudly proclaims the customer comes first???
  • We walk into a clothing shop to buy a top.  As we discuss our needs with the sales person, we clearly state that it must be either white or black.  No other colour will do.  What response do we get?  She proceeds to suggest every other colour but the ones we insisted on.  Not just once, but five times!  Are listening skills a thing of the past?  Does she really think we’re paying any attention to what she has to say after this?
  • Here’s a good one.  (And by ‘good’, we really mean bad!)   Looking for a much needed cup of hot chocolate to warm up, we walk into a popular coffee shop.  What do we find?  A caring, helpful staff intent on serving their customers to the best of their ability?  Not here!  With five people waiting far too long in line, only one employee is working the front end.  Where are all the others?  Well, one is busy counting tips at table in the corner (clearly not from these customers!).  The other two are (we kid you not!) trimming each other’s bangs at the far end of the counter!!!  Need we say more??!! 

Don’t get us wrong, there were some great service stories, too.  We were treated to amazing shopping experiences courtesy of the staff at William Ashley, Pottery Barn, Danier Leather and many others.  Unfortunately, the disasters you’ve just read about are all too common out there. 

Make absolutely and positively sure that you are never, ever the salesperson in these types of incidents.  It not only hurts sales, it greatly diminishes the way people perceive you and others in your proud occupation.

We can all improve our performance, starting today.  So get out there and just do it!

Blog Authors: Linda

Linda Montalbano

Linda Montalbano is a true retail operator with a history of leading large retail teams to success. If you need a fresh perspective on what's going wrong in your stores, Linda is the one to tell you like it is and come up with a solid game plan to turn things around!

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