an epic fail of service

Ahh… life as a customer experience freak can be tiresome. I love tending to customers and always search for ways to meet and exceed their needs. It is not solely about selling (I enjoy that part too) but communication, trust and relationship building are all involved.

Me and Sam
Me and Sam

One might think with an extensive background in service, I am a tough customer. I appreciate the difference between a remarkably good or bad experience. However, as I live mostly on the other side of the counter, I remain empathetic in most situations.

Which brings me to………..

a not so great experience

Recently, my teenage son Sam destroyed a pair of glasses. I’m not sure how or why, but the frames broke and one of the lenses fell out. Like a good mom, I ran to the optician to order a new pair. I was alerted the frames might be eligible for replacement through warranty. I ordered a separate pair we could pick up that day. All was good, the end for the moment.

I received a call that his glasses were in. So far, service was good. Happy customer, etc. The optician doesn’t take appointments for glasses pick up so I expected to wait.

30 minutes later, patience was waning. I was over it and wanted to get home. I asked for Sam’s glasses and said we would fit them later if necessary. No biggie. Still not pissed off.

one put off customer

10 more minutes ticked by befoe the optician appeared. She said there was frames and assumed I had the lenses. What what what??? Blood started boiling as I took a deep breath and exhaled.

First, why on earth would I have kept the lenses in the first place? I had nowhere to keep them. I couldn’t use the lenses without the frames. Geez.

Second, she chose a poor way to start a conversation with someone who was waiting 40 minutes for assistance. Taking a defensive stance right from the start was completely unnecessary and totally unprofessional and unacceptable.

When I questioned what happened, she stated that she took notes. OOOOOH. notes! That must mean for sure it was my fault. Bad news alert: I was pissed.

own it, fix it, move on.

She failed to understand it didn’t matter whose fault it was. There was a problem that needed attention. What an excellent opportunity to focus on customer service follow up.

Believe me, I get it. Shit happens and sometimes things go wrong. The lenses were at large. If she would have approached me in a more contrite manner, my blood temperature would have stayed cool.

Own it. Tell me they are at large and you will continue searching for the lenses. Or tell me you will fix the problem. Either way, I can deal with it. Don’t blame me and pass off responsibility.

In the end, the lenses are not the real issue here. The optician destroyed the sense of trust and goodwill built over the past several years. By shirking responsibility, I no longer want to do business with her.

see the bigger picture here

Is it worth it in the end to piss off your loyal customer base? I have choices where I do business. I can eat where I want, shop where I please and visit doctors and other services that respect me as a person and a customer.

Today I am no longer pissed off. I am disappointed in the exchange. My biggest take home message is to be the better person. Own your shit. No one likes messing up or admitting to it.

I respect people who are in the habit of finding solutions rather than blaming others. How would you react in similar situations? Would you fly off the handle? Yell and scream to your heart’s desire? Slink away into a corner an sulk? Share your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “an epic fail of service

  1. momfeld says:

    Okay, that would have completely pissed me off. My irish temper would have gotten the better of me. I abhor bad customer service. I also have a problem with people who don’t take accountability. I would have totally taken the low road and told her I was never going back and telling all my friends. Lol!


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