Customer Service: Don’t Make Your Customers Threaten to Leave Before Acting

When the customer says, “Can we resolve this”, don’t say “No” before checking into it!  Imagine how silly the American Express Customer Service Rep looked on a call with my daughter this morning. Last year my daughter and I approved a small purchase of a planner – not realizing that American Express was signing us up for a lifetime subscription.  After receiving a new planner in the mail this year, our statement showed up with a $40+ charge!  Wow – the price suddenly went way up.  I guess they assumed we would just let it go.

Of course we called to return it, but they the rep said “No, we can’t take it back”.  My wife overheard this and immediately jumped on the call – “So you’d rather me cancel the card and keep the planner?” she asked…”Well, well….blah blah blah, no…” She said.  Within two or three minutes we not only had a credit, but they told us to keep the planner (suddenly it’s free).  So they were right, they can’t take it back, however the credit was there, we just had to ask.  American Express gets one star for customer service on this one.  Make sure your customers are happy they are doing business with you, and when something happens that causes a customer satisfaction problem, don’t make the customer threaten to leave before responding.

© 2011, David Stelzl


3 thoughts on “Customer Service: Don’t Make Your Customers Threaten to Leave Before Acting

  1. Ola! Davidstelzl,
    Interesting Post, A few months ago I went to see the film Coco Before Chanel with my Belgian girlfriend, Susan, who was hugely excited to see it.

    Unfortunately, the slightly idiotic girl behind the counter gave us two tickets for Transformers 2 – something that only dawned on us when we noticed the large robots and explosions on screen instead of sophisticated French drama.

    I was infuriated. And even worse, it turned out we had missed the first fifteen minutes of Coco BC.

    I protested to the manager, and demanded a full refund for both tickets with complimentary refreshments. He simply shrugged and made excuses – ‘that’s not possible, sir’, ‘your ticket was valid for that performance sir’. That’s all. In a bid to wake him from this slumber I slapped him (very lightly) with the back of my hand.

    In an overly aggressive response, he swore and cursed and threatened violence upon me and my girlfriend.

    They call that ‘good customer service’. Whatever happened to manners? I’m still utterly appalled.
    Kindest Regards

  2. Great point. Customer service is too often seen as just having warm bodies available to answer phones, listen to a customer complain, then get them off the phone…as quickly as you can.

    There’ s not too much of a focus on taking care of issues, fixing problem, helping people, getting people value from the service they’re getting.

    I read about a similar experience in service:

    Customer service isn’t just answering the phone. It’s thinking and doing the right thing.

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