The 5 scariest customer service nightmares

Halloween is just around the corner and in the spirit of this spooky time, we have gathered the five scariest customer service nightmares for you. Do they keep you awake too?

By Renée Müller

3.8 min read

26 October 2021

customer service nightmares

The customer experience is what will set you apart in 2022. Even with limited resources, CX leaders can build a great customer experience – simply by making smart use of technology, among other things. But we know it’s not easy. A negative review is often enough to keep you awake and an angry customer on the phone will give you chills no matter what. But it’s the same the other way round: customer service doesn’t always have a good reputation and causes a lot of irritation among consumers. We’ve listed five of the scariest customer service nightmares to help you build a better CX strategy for your brand.

#1 The Revenge of the Telephonist

A man drove into a McDonald’s drive through with his nine-year-old son for a quick meal. After waiting 15 minutes for his order, his patience ran out. He was apparently extremely hungry and asked for his money back. And then things escalated.

The cashier called the manager, who was visibly upset about the refund request. She told the customer, “Yeah, we’re tired of people coming in here saying, ‘It’s taking too long. It takes too long.’ Go somewhere else!”

This really is the cardinal sin of customer service – losing your temper during an interaction with a customer.

The customer immediately uploaded the video of his experience on social media and it didn’t turn out well for the brand. As a brand, McDonalds has built its reputation on speed and efficiency. This experience badly damaged the brand perception of the fast food company.

What should you take away from this? Being polite is perhaps the simplest yet most impactful action that helps brands address dissatisfied customers. Always stay nice and never take your bad mood out on a customer.

#2 Is it a queue… or is it Limbo?

Despite the numerous channels available for customer support, customers still prefer the phone call. After all, there really is no substitute for real human interaction. Every once in a while, you just want to talk to a member of staff, even if it’s just to put your mind at rest.

Customers do not like being put on hold and having to listen to a pre-recorded voice. Or being put on hold for hours when it’s a simple question that can be resolved in ten minutes, such as a cancellation. One of the biggest customer service nightmares is not knowing where you stand for hours on end.

If your business wants to improve its telephone support, consider using customer service tools that are on the market.

Live chat, for example, can help to quickly answer short questions and it gives your customer the opportunity to do something else while waiting.

#3 The Silence of the Agents

Transparency is customer service. Don’t leave your customers in the dark, because then they will choose your competitor who is more transparent.

People have more confidence in companies and products that are open and ethical. They hate hidden costs or complicated prices.

Some companies often resort to silence or simply do not respond to difficult customers. Such a situation frustrates and frightens the customer; he feels alienated and lost.

Always give an answer. Even if you have no answer. It is also extremely rude just to ignore your customer.

#4 I Know What You Did…

Negative emotions have a lot of power. They make you feel fucked up, stressed out and ruin a perfect day. That’s exactly why negative word-of-mouth advertising is disastrous for your customer experience. Research shows that 90% of customers read all reviews before making a decision and also that negative reviews have a greater influence than positive ones.

A negative review can break your brand and a positive one can make it.

Of course, negative feedback is not the end of the world. Customers complain, it’s part of the game. But you should always know how to handle it, don’t let them walk away or get even angrier, because then the end is lost.

#5 The Dead Line

Customers love to hear from you and they also expect you to have the answer to all their questions. There’s nothing more annoying than not hearing from a company or having to make an effort to ask a question.

Communicate with your customers on their preferred channel, offer personalised interactions and understand customer sentiment.

Implement omnichannel support or use AI to analyse interactions.

But above all, stay informed, interact with customers, and create content that is relevant to them. Most importantly, deal with them in a polite, professional and peaceful manner. Avoid customer service nightmares, even after Halloween!

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