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The customer service files…

The customer service files…


Tue October 21, 2014

Business Buzz
by Candice Sealey

The last article focusing on customer service was received very well by you, the readers; so much so that many persons felt that more information should be shared on this issue. I couldn’t agree more… besides offering customer service and sales/marketing training, I felt it necessary to share what I call ‘The Customer Service Files’, where I highlight some real life scenarios of customer service blunders that either I, or other persons have encountered …no names are mentioned.{{more}} This time, I would like you to get involved and email us what you think should have been the appropriate response in these situations, I will then share your response in a follow-up article (your responses will remain anonymous). Hopefully you will see how simple things can make a huge difference.

Customer Service File #1

A customer walks into an eating establishment and enquires about the special for the day. Staff member informs the customer that the special is available, but not on what she requested; the customer selects another item and asks the price. Staff member in an aggressive tone tells the customer that it’s the same price as all the specials. The customer again asks the price. The staff member responds in a not so friendly tone, therefore showing that she assumed that the customer knew the special price. When it was time to pay for the meal, the customer enquired about what soft drinks were available. The staff member turns and points to the back (behind the counter where she is standing) and says ‘look dem over dey’…..

Can you spot the Customer Service blunder?

Customer Service File #2

Office scenario: This particular office, like many others, has no cubicles, only a long counter; so when someone comes in, all the staff are in plain sight in an open space at their desks. A member of the public walks into the office and approaches the counter and waits for assistance. The staff members look up from their desks, watch him and wait, expecting him to speak. Can you spot the Customer Service blunder?

Customer Service File #3

Two ladies are shopping for some clothing. They enter a store, start looking around and find something of interest. However, the size they need is not on the rack. They seek assistance, but it’s almost impossible to know who is really working at the establishment because no one is in uniform or anything that suggests that they are associated with the store. Whilst they look around for some help, they notice three ladies in a corner talking about the previous night’s episode of The Bold and Beautiful. It turns out that these three ladies work at the store.

Can you spot the Customer Service blunder – do you see how this blunder can affect sales?

Customer Service File #4

An email is sent to a business entity requesting information, as well as submitting information. The email is received and read by the intended recipient. Two days later, the person that sent the email still has to pick up the phone to find out if the information sent in the email was received.

Can you spot the Customer Service blunder?

Customer Service File #5

Shoppers in the supermarket pick up their items and approach the cashier. The cashier’s head is almost always facing down; she scans the items through the cash register and just stretches her hand out to collect the money.

Can you spot the Customer Service blunder?

Customer Service File #6

Someone recommends a doctor to their friend. The friend makes an appointment for 11 a.m. on a particular day. He arrives at 11 a.m. sharp. It is 1:30 p.m. and he is still waiting, but has no idea why he hasn’t been seen by the doctor two and half hours after his confirmed appointment. He leaves feeling annoyed and vows not to return.

Can you spot the Customer Service blunder?

Customer Service File #7

A customer goes into a store to purchase an item. The staff member they speak with has very little knowledge of the item they need. Said staff member informs them that the person that deals with “those products” is at lunch so they must come back in an hour. Whilst that customer is there, another person walks in with a complaint about an item purchased. Staff member tells the customer that the person who deals with complaints stepped out and he is not sure when they will return, so they could try coming back later that day or the next day. The customer with the complaint becomes very annoyed; the staff members tells him that there is nothing he can do because he doesn’t deal with complaints.

Can you spot the Customer Service blunder? Do you think that customer will return to buy the item?

Customer Service File #8

A lady walks into a salon to get her hair cut. She has never been to this particular salon, but she really needs to get a handle on her split ends. The salon has three hairdressers, all dealing with clients. She walks in the door, the stylists all turn, look at her and say nothing. She is not sure whom she needs to speak to; there is no reception area and no one has greeted her. She walks up to one of the hairdressers, enquires about the price for the trimming of her split ends and also about how soon she can get it done. She is informed that they are busy, so they can’t really give an exact time. She leaves and finds another salon that took care of her, even though they too were busy.

Can you spot the Customer Service blunder?

Email us at or visit us on and let us know if you spot the customer service blunders, as well as how you think the situation could have been handled better. Feel free to also share your customer service experiences as well.

Candice Sealey is Founder of Ignite! Full service Marketing & PR Consultancy Company offering tailored services to help businesses succeed. Create new sparks and get better results for your business.

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