As consumers, most of us like to get really good customer service. While it might not matter as much in some purchases decisions that are driven by price, there are many other situations where getting good customer service can strongly influence us or simply make a lasting impression.
A while back, I shared what I consider to be my best customer service experience ever, when I had traveled to the Great Wall of China, and a person went to extraordinary lengths to deliver a purchase to me. It was truly impressive how much effort that person put forth in the name of customer service.
While reminded of that experience recently, I thought it might be good to also share my worst customer service experience ever. Now, I can recall several horrible examples of customer service that made my blood boil at the time, and rightfully so I might add. I’ve gotten over them of course, and learned lessons along the way. This particular episode wasn’t as upsetting at the time, but I thought it was so blatantly tacky and lacking in customer service that it’s just the first one that immediately comes to mind now.
Over a decade ago, I was on a work assignment away from home, stationed for a few months (during the work week) in Detroit of all places. The place at which I was staying was in the suburbs, in a fairly decent area with some good shopping nearby.
One evening I decided that I would go get a haircut. Now, I’ve posted before how I’ve learned that the cost of a haircut doesn’t need to be excessive, at least for the typical guy anyway. Well, that particular evening I went to a place that charged $30 for a haircut. That’s more than I would pay today, and was certainly expensive back then. However, I didn’t know the area and the place seemed nice (and was the first I saw). My thought process as I recall was that it was worth it at that time, especially as I was in an unfamiliar city. A better place equaled less risk as I saw it, and I spent more back then anyway – unlike my low cost haircuts these days 🙂
So I walked in and ended up getting my haircut from an attractive woman with a seemingly friendly and outgoing personality. She asked me questions about myself, and was friendly about giving me suggestions on things to do during the evenings while I was on my assignment there. So far, not a bad experience.
However, things then went downhill.
First, she started telling me about the local bookstore which she enjoyed going to and checking out new books. She proceeded to tell me how she would go in there every week, and walk out spending at least $60 on books because she just couldn’t help herself. Huh? Well, okay – that’s not indicative of bad customer service, I agree. But as a personal finance maven, it made me think “I feel sorry for her husband”.
Anyway, back to the transgressions. As she was blabbering away, I felt sharp pain in my ear. I remember audibly expressing “Ouch!” or something to that effect, apparently loud enough that others around could hear. I instinctively felt my ear, and there was a bit of blood. The woman cut my ear!
She tried to laugh it off, by saying something like “oh sorry”, followed by words to the effect of “it’s not so bad. You look like you’re tough enough to handle it.”
Well, obviously I lived:) But let’s be real here, it’s not normal to cut the ear of a customer and cause bleeding!
After the haircut was done, she was quick to direct me to the front register to pay. Nothing about a discount, nothing about it’s on us, let me see if the manager can do something about taking care of you, etc. She was eager to get me to pay, and move on so the next customer could step up.
The best part: She eagerly told me (paraphrased) “you can either leave the tip with the cashier, include it when you charge, or you can just give it to me in cash”
I did not leave a tip. That being said, I didn’t complain or throw a fit either. I just quietly walked out in disbelief, without complaint, too stunned to say anything.
I’m sure there have been other cases where I’ve had much worse service by other people’s standards, but this one just jumps out at me because of how cheesy that lady was! I now think that I should have at least said something about it, but if nothing else I can joke and laugh about it now 🙂
My Questions for You:
How would you have handled that situation?
Does that seem a bit crazy to you that they would charge full price after injuring a customer?
What is your worst customer experience ever? I’m curious to hear about a crazy situation that you’ve dealt with.