Bad Customer Service Goes a Long Way in the Wrong Direction

08 Jan 2007

Joel Welsh

Joel Welsh, Chief Community Officer, is also the CEO of a new startup company ... Showcase U. Joel shares behind the scenes key decisions being made in the "Birth of a Startup" and knocks it out of the park to provide his own entrepreneurial wisdom.

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This happens only once in a great while, but when it does it really especially stands out – in a terribly bad way.

I actually boldly announced in a small business establishment this past weekend to anyone within earshot that I will never ever return to that particular place of business again because of the way they treated me as a customer.

Now, I’m generally pretty tolerant, especially when dealing with entrepreneurs. But in this case I was just totally shocked and blown away at how little this business cared about me. Here’s what happened:

The gas pump I was using was pumping very slowly. So slowly that I considered stopping at 2 gallons & going to another gas station. But I decided to stick it out since the time it would have taken to drive somewhere else may not have been worth it. Well, the pump was going so slowly, that I was watching the numbers crawl on the pump & didn’t notice that the pump did not automatically shut off once my tank was full. Gasoline was dripping down the side of my car onto the ground. It may have been a couple gallons of gas.

I went inside the convenience store to let them know about the gas on the ground and I was attacked for not attending the pump. I explained that I stood right next to the pump the entire time (watching the numbers slowly move on the pump) but I was still rudely treated.

It got worse from there and I’ll spare you the details but I really truly did announce to the 8-10 customers in the store my intention of never ever returning to do my business here. The rest of the day I told everyone I know in the neighborhood (this station is the closest one to my house) about my experience and received commitments from all that they will join in my boycott.

It’s been a few days and I’ve calmed down about it, but I will stand by my personal boycott and mentally count the $30 per fill up that I am spending elsewhere. Let’s see, that’s $30 per week for 52 weeks/ year – that’s over $1,500 I won’t spend at that station during 2007.

For great suggestions on how to do the opposite of my local gas station, check out this article on how to create satisfied customers.

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