When customer service terrorists strike!

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When customer service terrorists strike!

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unreasonable customer expectationsToo many customers are gaining fame by attacking companies because their unrealistic customer expectations were not met.  The fires are fueled by our unquenchable thirst for sensational news stories so these irate customers show up on our TVs lamenting about how they’ve been wronged (in their minds) and how the big, bad company should pay.  Don’t we all take pause and listen?  Facebook campaigns sprout up overnight calling for the ousting of the company head in question, and tens of thousands of uninformed folks hop on the bandwagon.  Before you know it, a single disgruntled customer making a fuss about a return policy is quickly splashed across all the major news stations, papers and Internet.

Does anyone stop to think that maybe this one customer is totally full of it?  Do they consider that these company policies and rules are in place for a reason whether or not you feel like following them?  The media sure does make it more difficult for brands and companies because they want ratings.  When the media makes customers famous by sensationalizing their situations, it makes it impossible for good companies to not give in to the unreasonable demands.  The media is holding businesses hostage.

CTA-11-steps-to-social-media-success-for-contact-centersUnrealistic customer expectations are nothing new, yet how those customers are publicly perceived has changed.  With the strength of social media and traditional media’s thirst for ratings, any idiot that speaks up loud enough will get what they want.  The threat (media noise) to get what you want is terrorism.  Even when a company is right and has done everything right, they end up yielding to customer idiocy because they can’t take the constant brand bashing in the news.  We need to take the power away from unrealistic customers and put it back in the hands of the good companies trying to be fair to all their customers by enforcing their policies.  You are being unfair to the MANY customers who have accepted the policy as it applied to their situation.  Not liking the answer is not a good enough reason to become a terrorist!

Here are some customers with unrealistic expectations of their brands.  Look for them on your TVs soon!

“With this economy, you should be more sensitive to people’s problems.  I cannot afford to buy a new TV and yours didn’t last long enough.  I paid good money for this 6 years ago and now I have nothing.”

“Even though I didn’t buy the insurance I should still get my money back.  I made a mistake and bought the wrong unit.  I don’t know why you won’t take it back.”

“I called your customer service line today to get a refund but was told I was outside the 60 day return window.  How am I supposed to decide if I want to keep this product in just 60 days?”

“I changed my mind and no longer want this thing, but because I don’t have the original packaging, you won’t take it back.  Yesterday he told me that it says right on the outside of the box that I should keep the packaging to return it.  I went to the store to look at the other boxes and it does say that but I still want to return it.  You should take this back from me.”

About Dr. Jodie Monger

Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics and a pioneer in voice of the customer research for the contact center industry. Before creating CRMetrics, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University’s Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

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  • Chris Lah

    The Customer Service “terroist” topic is spot on and (unfortunately) a growing reality in the health care industry.

    Recently, we had have one customer tell us up front and one a recorded line that he will make things “real ugly” if we didn’t discount his bill – and this was a physician. The “blackmail” side of terroism.

    Please continue to cultivate strategies on this one. You definitely have us as an audience!

  • Pradipta Pandit

    At least that is not the case in India. Big brands here except for a few are continuously cheating people in different ways. For example, one of the largest Insurance company’s agents falsified my signatures a year back, one of the largest retailers openly tell that they would not share their report of study for which we had paid, one of the most highly rated hospital killed more than 100 people in different ways in one night – the story goes on. Customers here are not that lucky.

  • Rodrigo Cobos

    Yes, there is always both sides of the story and in both sides you’ll find somebody trying to take advantage of everything. For the customers, the option of try and return is usually misused or misunderstood but on the other hand from a marketing point of view, there is no such thing as bad advertising for the company.