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CX Horror Stories III

Release Date: October 27, 2020 • Episode #139

It’s another edition of The CX Leader Podcast’s annual CX Horror Stories! Hosts Steve Walker and Pat Gibbons endure frightening tales of bad hotel service, poor rental management, ghoulish social media responses, and spine-chilling encounters with government agencies. Guests include Sandra Mathis (HCL Technologies), Brandi Dale (Walker), Johnathan Ruchman (Brookdale Senior Living) and Amy Brown (AuthenticX).

Highlights

Not the greatest living experience

When Brandi Dale and her partner seek help from management regarding a situation with a neighbor, they didn’t exactly get the response they expected:

“We had a pretty uncomfortable situation with our neighbors. And when we asked for help from management to resolve those issues, their advice was to leave a note on their door. And I’m not sure that that’s ever been an effective technique with bad neighbors and resolving issues as leaving a note. So obviously that didn’t go very far. Management was a revolving door in and of itself. By the time we actually moved out, we were on our fifth building manager and every time the management changed, we actually got a note that had an interesting clause in it that we should assume that all outstanding maintenance requests or other types of requested the lost and that we should resubmit them.”

Social media tirade

When Johnathan tried to contact his dry cleaner through the phone, he didn’t receive a response. So he took to their Facebook page with some some breathtakingly negative results:

“So I kept emailing and calling and nobody responded to me. And I generally don’t go on to social media to do things, but I had no other way to contact to them. So they had a Facebook page on the website. So I clicked on it and I put on Facebook. I said, you shouldn’t have to inventory your clothes every time that you have it sent out for for dry cleaning. As soon as I hit the send button, my cell phone rang and it was the owner of the dry cleaner screaming at me, dropping F-bombs, cursing at me. “How dare I… how dare I go on to social media and put that post out there?” It was… I couldn’t believe it.”

She just wanted to pay her ticket!

When Amy got a traffic ticket all she wanted to do was pay the fee. But it quickly became a nightmare that could have cost her drivers license.

“So then I start the call center nightmare of trying to find a responsible party that can help me figure out how to pay this dang bill. I am not joking you. I started to keep a record. It was seven solid days and seventeen phone calls to different government offices and people who were telling me no, you got to call this. Oh well we can’t find you, but I’m sure you have to owe money so you got to go here. And I got pointed all over city government, county government, state government I, I was beside myself all the while my license was going to be suspended.”

Transcript

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Witch:
Oh, hello, dearie.

Little Girl:
You scared me. Who are you?

Witch:
That's a pretty red cloak you have on there, my sweet, OK, as pretty as this lovely red apple I have here.

Little Girl:
That is a very lovely looking apple.

Witch:
And delicious, too.

Little Girl:
Oh, well, I really should be going.

Witch:
Would you like a bite?

Little Girl:
No, not really. I'm really am late. My grandmother is expecting me…

Witch:
Are you sure? Apples are very healthy. You know what they say? An apple a day.

Little Girl:
Well, I am hungry.

Witch:
Good. Now, if you could just fill out this form… [record scratch]

Little Girl:
Wait, what?

Witch:
…and I'll need to see your identification…

Little Girl:
Identification?!

Witch:
…let me get my sales executive on the phone…

Little Girl:
Sales executive?!?

Witch:
…so that we can speak to you about the available options for upgrades and management services for the apple core disposal…

Little Girl:
I don't want any of this! Why do you need to talk to your manager? Why can't you just land the deal yourself? This is a terrible customer experience for something as simple as an apple. I'm outta here!

Witch:
Wait! I can offer you a service plan for future Apple deliveries!

Little Girl:
Forget it! I'm definitely not recommending you to anyone else.

Witch:
No!! What will this do to my N.P.S.? Oh, what a world! What a world!

Steve:
Wow! Can you imagine the horror?

Pat:
Yeah, I know. I mean, that Apple could have been poisoned.

Steve:
No, no. I mean, why did the witch make that experience so difficult, and to lose a potential customer when it could have been such a frictionless experience?

Pat:
Oh, that. Yeah, that's scary too. I guess that means…

Steve:
That's right. It's time for more CX horror stories on this episode of… The CX Leader Podcast.

Witch:
The CX Leader Podcast is a production of Walker, an experience management firm that helps companies accelerate their XM success. Find out more at walkerinfo.com.

Steve:
Hello, everyone. I'm Steve Walker, the host of The CX Leader Podcast and thank you for listening to our annual Halloween Edition. Listeners to our podcast know that the purpose of this program is to provide helpful knowledge and insights to customer experience pros so they can provide the best possible experience for their customers. But not all companies are as diligent in their CX efforts. Today, we're going to listen to four stories of scary customer experiences. And helping me get through this horrific episode is my colleague that The CX Leader Podcast fans here will all know well, who also leads the CX function here at Walker, Pat Gibbons, who is a frequent guest host. Pat, thanks for helping me get through this.

Pat:
Hey, thanks, Steve. I'm here to help and good times and bad.

Steve:
So what a terrifying tale do we have first?

Pat:
Well, I thought we'd start off with one that in some form or another we've all had to endure. And that's a bad experience at a hotel. Sandy Mathis was recently a guest on the podcast and she shared this horrifying experience while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

Sandy:
So I had decided for a friend of mine's fortieth birthday, we're going to take this trip to the D.R. We took the recommendation given to us by a mutual friend who is a travel agent. We get there and it's one of these like larger resorts in the D.R. And so you you know, they've got lots of restaurants. But because she was wanting to make sure we could eat at certain times and I'm not a big fan of buffets, it's got, you know, 10, 12 restaurants. We go in to actually start making our reservations. First night they're like, well, we can't get you in for any reservations. We're like, well, we don't want to keep coming back. We want to be efficient with it. Let us go ahead and make the reservations for the for the rest. Well, everything is kind of booked up. And I said, is there a conference? I'm like trying to be understand is there a conference or something like that going on? And they're like, no, not really. Well, every day that we would go past, there's nobody really in the restaurant. The first night we waited for something like this where they suggested we do where we waited for like forty five minutes for our food to show up and literally somebody else at the table had to get up because it wasn't just us, like the table just was not being served. So that's the first night. The second day it's you get up and we come back and we're like, there's no towels. Where are the towels? So you finally get the towels. We need to start hoarding them. This is like a like a four night getaway. We hoarded water towels because they just wouldn't replace them. One of the days we left to come back, we've got the sign on the door that says Do not enter service, sorry, it's putting the service sign on. And I recognize that a lot of the like the cleaning staff, they don't necessarily read English, but it's only in two languages. It's either in the language you read or you you don't. They don't clean the room. So I'm like steaming. I mean, I'm a pretty patient person, but steam is coming out of my ears and all apologetic, so on and so forth. They finally show up. I turned on the sign that says Do not enter because I was taking a shower. She walks in on me, no clothes on. Like literally. I'm like, are you like, what in the world is going on? I get back and I post this review and I am going in. And on TripAdvisor there is a character limit, by the way, where it eventually erases. They responded to this. They're like, we're going to follow up. No follow up ever. It was just lip service. And I said I did a follow up to the lack of follow up to say, yeah, still no follow up based on my experience. So needless to say, I could never recommend that hotel.

Steve:
Well, there's a couple of things that pop right out to me is being in this business is a CX expert does make you very aware of what are good and bad experiences. And then I think the other thing here is, you know, if you ask for feedback and you say you're going to follow up, you darn well better follow up.

Pat:
Yeah, it's you know, we've all had travel experiences, but when it's one thing after another and you can't explain what's going on, is that their staffing? Is it you know, their arrangement? There's just no excuse for that kind of service.

Steve:
A lot of our listeners are B2B. But it's a common theme on the podcast is that our experiences as consumers in the B2C world do and in fact inform how we see other experiences in our business life. And so as professionals, we just need to keep that in mind that, you know, we're we're all customers out there every day, too, so.

Witch:
[laugh]

Steve:
Well, what's next, Pat, what other horror stories do you have for us?

Pat:
Well, Steve, this one is shared by one of our own here at Walker. Brandi Dale.

Steve:
Oh, good.

Pat:
So Brandi talks about finding a place to live in a stressful situation, especially in Los Angeles. So when you find something, you really want it to be home, right? Well, turns out their experience was pretty frightful. Let's listen.

Brandi:
My horror story began a few years ago when my partner and I moved to Los Angeles. Apartment hunting can be quite fierce in L.A. with apartments being showed and leased oftentimes the same day. So when we finally found an apartment that was in our price range and within walking distance of Dan's new office, we considered ourselves lucky. But the problems with that leasing company began pretty soon after we moved in. Communications were terrible. We often received last-minute notice of the water being turned off and the whole building for the whole day. Or, you know, in the case of utilities like electricity being out, we would often get no notice of those outages. On one occasion, we actually requested service in our apartment and then the service technician never showed up. So when we reached out to our apartment manager to let them know of that, we got no response in return ever. We had a pretty uncomfortable situation with our neighbors. And when we asked for help from management to resolve those issues, their advice was to leave a note on their door. And I'm not sure that that's ever been an effective technique with bad neighbors and resolving issues as leaving a note. So obviously that didn't go very far. Management was a revolving door in and of itself. By the time we actually moved out, we were on our fifth building manager and every time the management changed, we actually got a note that had an interesting clause in it that we should assume that all outstanding maintenance requests or other types of requested the lost and that we should resubmit them. When we were finally ready to move out, I completed a move out for him on our resident portal because that's where we paid our rents and everything. But apparently that didn't go anywhere, anywhere. Management never received it. So I had to fill out another form on pen and paper and then scan it and send it back to them. The the cherry on top with them was about a month after we moved out. Actually, we got a request for a move out experience survey, which I delightfully filled out. But talk about a poorly timed survey. You know, at that point, obviously, the damage had been done with our experience and there wasn't anything that they could really do to recover. But that was because they were asking us to the point we'd moved out if they had surveyed us. Maybe after the first year of of living there, they could have taken taken an opportunity to improve on some of the things that were quite bothersome and frustrating.

Steve:
Well, that is a horror story. And the fact that it happened to somebody I consider a friend and and like a lot of my heart goes out to them, like I can't imagine what kind of an experience that was. And, you know, your home is probably one of the most intimate customer experiences you'll ever have. I've been a renter and an owner in my life. And, you know, there's advantages to both. But, boy, that just sounded like an awful, awful situation.

Pat:
You know, one of the things that stuck out to me is, you know, as CX professionals, we often make the link between the employee experience and the customer experience. So it's no surprise when I hear her story to hear of the turnover that took place and ownership and management. And, yeah, you know, it's just another example of good employees lead to good customer experiences.

Steve:
Yeah. They can't keep tenants. No wonder because they can't keep employees either. So it's probably just sounds like a, you know, very toxic type of deal.

Witch:
How do you like the show so far, dearie? Are the spine chilling tales too frightening? Tell us about your CX horror story and let us know how you're enjoying the show by emailing podcast@walkerinfo.com. [evil laugh]

Steve:
How much more of these Pat? You know, I can only take so much.

Pat:
I know. I know. Well, how about I throw you an easy one this time? Social media has really provided a way for companies to create positive experiences for customers. But this story from our friend Jonathan proves it's pretty easy to do the opposite as well.

Johnathan:
We had a dry cleaner at the corporate office that delivered a dry cleaning and they lost an article of clothing of mine. So I kept emailing and calling and nobody responded to me. And I generally don't go on to social media to do things, but I had no other way to contact to them. So they had a Facebook page on the website. So I clicked on it and I put on Facebook. I said, you shouldn't have to inventory your clothes every time that you have it sent out for for dry cleaning. As soon as I hit the send button, my cell phone rang and it was the owner of the dry cleaner screaming at me, dropping F-bombs, cursing at me. How dare I how dare I go on to social media and put that post out there? And he was going off on me. It was… I couldn't believe it. Here I am, the customer. And here's a small business person that delivered to a large corporate office. So I go back and tell folks a story and make a long story short that dry cleaner was fired. So not only lost my business, lost everybody else's business.

Steve:
You know, you can say what you want about social media, but it really has put more power into the hands of the customer. And, you know, that's why if you're not doing some proactive listening, you're probably going to hear about it one way or another. And thank goodness that Jonathan didn't get intimidated by this person because the dry cleaner was clearly in the wrong and in there. Just no, no two ways about that.

Pat:
Yeah. You know, Jonathan's a pro. So obviously he knows how to handle those situations. But I think, again, as customer experience professionals today, there are so many ways to communicate with your customers and to gather feedback. We have to be open to that and, you know, open up these channels and respond to them effectively.

Steve:
Pat, I think I've taken all I can take of this, so let's wrap it up, shall we?

Pat:
Oh, no, no, no, no. I've got one more and I think you'll like this. It's a doozy. Now, government organizations at any level are pretty easy pickings in regards to CX, but a recent guest on our show, Amy Brown, she shared her experience, simply trying to pay a ticket. So, Steve, prepare yourself. This one is truly terrifying. Let's listen.

Amy:
It started with me driving and apparently the law had changed and my phone being to my ear was no longer legal and I was just about to put my headphones in and have two hands on the steering wheel. But lo and behold, I passed by a cop who caught me with my phone to my head and pulled me over and gave me a ticket. And I accept total responsibility. That is not my complaint in this story at all. But the problem was, is that the ticket had on it the the the website I was supposed to go to to go pay my ticket. Right. And this was right as COVID hit. It was in early March. And I went online, you know, a few days later, my information wasn't found, looked back at the ticket. The ticket said, oh, you have to allow up to five to seven days for your information to be accessible online. Ok, so I checked back day after day after day, and the website never identified me so that I could pay my ticket. I entered and the ticket number I entered in my name all the information on my ticket, but the website would not recognize me. And so I told myself after a month or so of trying, huh? Maybe because of COVID and all, they just didn't they didn't log me in. And maybe I'm off the hook. Right. Maybe the cops ticket didn't make it into their system. They obviously don't have me as owing any money. Right. So I forgot about it. Fast forward like another 30 days and I get a letter in the mail at my home and it's from a government entity. And my husband walks up to me and he says, you might want to open this right now. I open it up and it says, Amy Brown, you are about to lose your license if you don't pay this ticket. And so I said, oh, my gosh. So I go back online, I cannot find myself. So then I start the call center nightmare of trying to find a responsible party that can help me figure out how to pay this dang bill. I am not joking you. I started to keep a record. It was seven solid days and seventeen phone calls to different government offices and people who were telling me no, you got to call this. Oh well we can't find you, but I'm sure you have to owe money so you got to go here. And I got pointed all over city government, county government, state government I, I was beside myself all the while my license was going to be suspended. So it gets down to the final wire and it's, you know, the next day that my license is going to be suspended and I just want to pay my ticket. But no one is helping me figure out how to pay my ticket. I finally got elevated to a, you know, an official in government who took pity on me and figured out going into the system how to unlock, make the switch right, click the right buttons so that I could pay my traffic ticket. So as if getting ticket isn't bad enough, the nightmare of trying to pay it so that my license wouldn't be suspended was just like something I had never experienced before.

Pat:
I told you it was a good one.

Steve:
Well, that that's kind of the ultimate insult there in it. I mean, you've already admitted your guilt and all you're trying to do is make good on it. And, you know, it's not bad enough that you got to pay the money, but then you got to go through all this hassle. You know, government, as you kind of mentioned, it's it's almost too easy to pick on them. But again, here's another, I think, positive that's coming out of our business is that, you know, these government entities are the ultimate service business. I mean, they are, you know, by definition exists to provide services to the taxpayer and they should be good. I mean, what else are we paying our taxes for? And I think, you know, we we know that we see other government agencies that are truly are being focused on their stakeholders. And so hopefully this one will eradicate itself in our lifetime someday.

Pat:
Right. And I think we've had some guests on the on the podcast from government agencies that are doing some some pretty cool things. So you're right. Hopefully we'll see a change.

Steve:
Well, Pat, I want to thank our guests for telling their stories and and also for you for joining me. It's it's never easy being on the bad end of poor customer experience. And while we have a lot of fun on this show, it's an important reminder that for customer experience can affect people's lives and they can also impact your business. It's one of the reasons we do this shows to help CX leaders like you recognize and avoid situations like the ones we've heard today and deliver the best possible experience to their customers. Again, Pat, thanks for helping me through this scary ordeal.

Pat:
Are you kidding? This is fun.

Well, and if you go on to connect with us or you want to talk about anything you heard on this episode or about how Walker can help your business's customer experience, feel free to e-mail me at podcast@walkerinfo.com or visit our website, cxleaderpodcast.com, to find our latest and greatest podcast series on various topics in a way to contact us and let us know how we're doing or whether you might have an idea for one of our future shows. And of course, you'll also find a way to subscribe to the podcast and through your favorite service, like Apple podcasts and Spotify. Thank you for listening to The CX Leader Podcast, which is a production of Walker. We're an experience management firm that helps our clients accelerate their XM success. Find out more at walkerinfo.com. Thanks for listening and we'll see you again next time.

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