Customer Service Fail is a new blog and as such I could really use some new stories to add to the blog. I have already received a couple of submissions but would really like to hear what you have to say. Please end your stories to CustomerServiceFail@gmail.com.
If I choose your story for the blog in the next month, I will send you a $10 gift card to iTunes. Hope to hear from you soon!
My brother and sister-in-law were visiting from LA and opted to stay at the new luxury hotel that opened across the street from my parents in Long Beach, NY. The beach front hotel has been open about a year but has yet to open many of the ammenities it promised including a pool and spa but it was easier for them to stay there than my parents’ place which is a little on the small side.
The cost of the rooms at the Allegria Hotel started at around $675 per night which is expensive even at the Four Seasons but the hotel promised an excellent stay and boasted that guests visited from The Hamptons and NYC so my family amped itself up for a nice stay.
The first room had broken hot water. The second room had broken AC. Calls for Ice Coffee to room service returned luke warm hot coffee 45 minutes later. Calls for towels went unanswered. On a trip to the beach my brother asked for a menu from the kitchen only to be asked for it right back as it was their only copy of the menu.
On the bright side, the hotel did comp two nights of the stay so it was not exactly a customer service fail, but be aware that a stay here is not exactly relaxing.
So I’m organizing a wine tour in the finger lakes for a group of 12 of my friends from grad school. I decided to use this company called S&S Limousines because people at school had used them before with no issues. In the days leading up to the wine tour I made reservations at 6 or 7 wineries all spaced out to give us time to hang out, taste wine and travel between.
On the day of the wine tour first our driver was 20 minutes late, already throwing off the whole schedule. Then he proceeds to get lost, which is pretty difficult to do because there is only 1 road connecting my school and Seneca Lake and all you have to do is stay on that road for half an hour. Still he somehow managed to get lost. Meanwhile I’m on the bus calling all of the wineries asking if we can move our reservations or if we have to cancel.
Finally we arrive at the first one 30 minutes late. We get off to the second winery (again late) and the bus breaks down! (I suppose these things always happen in 3’s right?). So we’re waiting for the bus to get a jump and at this point I’m calling to complain to the company. Since it was a weekend no manager was present. Finally we’ve used half of our time with the limo to wait for him to get a jump and we make it to 2 more wineries before having to turn back.
When I called Monday to complain and demand some sort of compensation they had the gaul to come back at me saying that while we paid in full for our time with the limo we didn’t leave the driver a tip. I didn’t realize tips were a mandatory fee these days, I thought people got those when they knew where they were going and showed up on time.
I booked my honeymoon through Continental Vacations a few weeks ago. Before I booked I did my due diligence and confirmed that I can upgrade the flight using miles. The woman on the phone even confirmed how many miles it would take and explained how I could transfer miles from my Dad to get the rest of what I needed.
So last week I tried calling Continental Vacations to do the upgrade and for the most part got:
“We can’t do that – you have to call Continental OnePass.”
OK – so I call Continental OnePass.
“We can’t do that – this is a bulk ticket, you have to talk to Continental Vactions.”
“Aren’t you guys the same company?”
“Not really, We have the same name, but there is no affiliation.”
What the F-!
“Apparently this is a known issue though, so I can take your name and contact information and someone from OnePass will get back to you”
That was Monday….waiting….waiting…..Thursday, I call back and re-explain everything that happened..
“Ok – let me get your name and contact information and someone will contact you.”
“Can I get a number to call in case I don’t hear from anyone again?”
“We dont’ have direct lines.”
“So what do I do when I dont’ hear from anyone again.”
“You can call back this number”
“And what will happen then”
“We’ll re-send the information”
It’s Wednesday – a week and a half later. Oh yeah, and the upgrades on the return flight are all booked.
Last year I won a trip from my job anywhere in the continental US, me and a guest. I have chosen to take my mom to San Fran and Napa. In selecting hotels I picked The W for the San Francisco leg of the trip because I have always enjoyed the comfort they offer. The mattresses there are the bees knees. The customer service policy…sucks.
So when my mom slipped on dog poo at 3 AM a week and a half ago and broke her wrist, we tried to postpone our trip for her comfort’s sake. My company called The W to be told that we could not reschedule or receive a refund for the trip and that we had to keep the trip as is or lose our prepaid $881.24.
We tried to explain to customer service the reason behind the change. We were giving them 3 weeks notice but still The W said no.
This isn’t the most ridiculous of customer service stories but W Hotel, WTF??? You fail.
As a sales representative, there are times when I am confronted with a particularly difficult customer. This is hardly surprising. People suck, especially when they are giving you money. Then they feel particularly entitled to suck. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all been high maintenance, idiotic and mean.
It’s never right to treat customer service representatives like they are less than human beings but it’s hard not to feel entitled to do so when the companies that they represent treat us the same way. So many organizations treat us like just another member of the nameless, faceless mass. We as the consumer have no power to fight because we are only one voice and as individuals we are not very loud.
There are the success stories. When United Airlines broke a guitar in 2009, the Canadian band Sons of Maxwell was able to channel their justifiable frustration into an internet sensation that not only achieved their desired result but lowered UA’s stock price and inspired us all at the power of a consumer.
But not all of us have musical ability so I am hoping this forum will give voice to our everyday gripes. Customer Service Fail will feature Fails and Wins. I want to hear about your experiences: both good and bad. The bad companies should be outted and the good companies should be praised. Tell me who has treated you wrong and who has treated you right. The only way to achieve change is by showing these organizations that by banding together we can make a pretty loud noise.