Customer Service Horror Stories

I am a stickler for getting and giving exceptional customer service.  Today I had yet another bad experience at our local Safeway store. 

I have one of those Club Member cards that allows you to receive extra savings when you swipe your card through the machine at the check out.  Well, my card strip has not worked for years.  I always have to give the card to the cashier and have him/her scan it, rather than swiping it myself.  

I have been going to this same store for four years and 80% of the time I get the same cashier.  Every time, I have to give her my card and every time, she acts disturbed that I did not follow procedure by swiping it through the machine myself. 

Today was my last straw.  I placed all my groceries on the conveyor belt, prior to her ringing them up.  She finished with the customer in front of me and I said, "Hello" and handed her my Club Member card.  She said nothing and began to scan my groceries, all the while I am standing there holding out my card to her.  She finishes ringing me up and then litereally grabs the card out of my hand, runs it through the swiper machine that I was suppose to use, realized it did not work, then scanned it on her machine.  I said, "It doesn't work, that's why I was handing you the card."  She snipped at me and said, "How am I suppose to know that?"  I said "It has never worked.  Every time I come in here the same thing happens."  She replied with another similar comment about how is she suppose to know that.  She was extremely rude about it.

Well, I was mad - not because she didn't remember me, but because of the way she treated me once again.  This had happened one too many times.  Why haven't I ever been offered a new card - one that works?  Why did the cashier have to be a control freak and make me stand there with my card while she rang up all my groceries?  How inconvenient to have to check my receipt to make sure I received all my savings after she was done ringing me up.  If she had scanned my Club Member card at the beginning I could have seen my savings as they were rung up.

Well, it got worse.  I called the corporate customer service line, which has one of those inconvenient, lengthly messages and phone tree.  Press #1 for this, press #2 for that, and so on.  Then, it asked me to punch in my Club Member number, so I did.  Finally an unprofessional sounding woman answers and asks me for my Club Member card number again.  I told her my story and said I wanted a call from a manager today if they ever expected me to shop there again.  Well, guess what?  I never received the call back and I am done shopping there.

I was curious, if one customer a month stops doing business with this store and on average spends $50 a week in groceries, how much money a year is this one store losing to bad customer service?  So, I went to the ROI calculator at The VOICE Customer Service Training  website and punched in those numbers.  Guess what the lost business total was . . .more than $413,000!

We welcome your customer service stories - be it good or bad.

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#1 Anita Martin on 7.31.2009 at 11:01 AM

Excellent post! I too am a stickler for excellent customer service, and what I give I expect to get in return. That being said, I am in a situation that I've found by sharing that A LOT of people are in -- your web designer has suddenly dropped off the face of the planet with the job not finished, in need of updates, etc. I mean literally disappeared -- won't answer phone calls, won't respond to emails, etc. This is BAD, BAD, BAD. Not only will I never work with this person again, I will tell everyone I meet about my experience.

#2 The Admin on 8.25.2009 at 11:41 PM

I just had another customer service horror story.

We went to an Irish Pub downtown, next to Coors Field Sunday early evening. We walked in and half the sections in the restaurant were closed. We looked around and saw people's glasses empty and no food on tables. This is a sign to leave and leave now! But, we stayed.

I had a positive attitude and believed we would have no service issues. Well, long story short, it was terrible service. The staff (wait staff and bartender) had an "I don't care" attitude in my opinion. When we started to leave - 45 minutes after arriving and still no one taking our order, the waitress came up and said, "Are you ready to order?" I said, "No, it has taken too long to get service." She said, "Oh - okay" and walked away.

Wow! We will never go back there. I wonder how many customers they lost that night who will never come back.


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