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When Customer Service Goes Wrong

When Customer Service Goes Wrong

One of the things that I truly appreciate about working for Glasstap is the importance the whole team puts on delivering great customer service.

As a customer too, it is something I place huge value on; it is at the forefront of all my decisions when choosing who to buy from, and I know I’m not alone in this. 

But, no matter how well individuals or organisations normally do when it comes to customer service, however good their intentions, sometimes things go wrong. In fact, as social media often reminds us, sometimes things go spectacularly wrong. When this happens, what makes the difference is how we and/or our organisations react.

Take the recent experience of the comedian, Tanyalee Davies on a train journey from Plymouth to London. Her experience as a disabled passenger sounds nothing short of horrific. Sadly, as other stories have demonstrated, it is not without precedent.

What sets this story apart for me is how the train company have responded to the video footage of the incident that Tanyalee posted. 

Instead of the corporate, lawyer approved, twaddle that is often spouted, we got a genuine, humane response. GWR’s representative, Dan Panes, said that staff who saw the video were “collectively horrified”. He went on to say, “We got it wrong, it made no sense.”

It makes for a refreshing change to see an organisation so openly accept that they were at fault. 

Think back on your own bad customer service experiences; what did you want from the organisation that had let you down?

Almost certainly you wanted two things:
  • Recognition of how you were feeling.
  • Resolution of the problem.

If both were missing, there is a good chance that you are no longer their customer and that you have told a LOT of people about it. Even if only one of the two were missing (regardless of which one) there is still a good chance you might have taken your custom elsewhere. I know I have.

Situations like that which occurred at GWR are an opportunity to remember what our customers might be feeling when they’re unhappy with us. They can also give us some pointers about what we should or shouldn’t do when customers feel let down, regardless of who is at fault.

Take a few minutes to think back on your own customer experiences and pull together a list of the five things you will endeavour to do next time you face an unhappy customer or colleague. 
If you want some ideas to help you, then the following are a great place to start:

Good luck!


July 19 2018 Frances Ferguson
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Frances Ferguson

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