Cranky Consumer or Bad Customer Service

October 5th, 2010 by Rob Berman Leave a reply »

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Maybe I was just cranky or maybe I just ran into a series of bad customer service situations in the last 24 hours.

New Brakes or Broke

I need new brakes for my car.  They are kind of pricey, easily running over $500.  I called around to some dealers looking at prices for a competitive price to either use or negotiate with my dealer.  Here are a few of my conversations:

  • The toll-free number had a recording that said it was “not a valid number” when I phoned it.
  • The number listed as “Service” put me into an automated attendant queue to hunt for “Service.”
  • The toll-free number connected me to a fax line.  I do not speak “fax.”
  • One dealer would only give me a quote after I provided my customer number.  I am not a customer and did not have or need one.  He then said to hold for a Service Advisor. I was on hold for a Service Advisor who was not available.  Finally, I capitulated and gave my contact information to establish a customer number.  Even with the customer number, the auto dealer employee could not quote the price.  He then said he would call me back.  More than 24 hours later I never received a call.
  • I ended up going to my usual dealer.  When they opened at 7:30 this morning I was there and could not make the automatic door open to pull in my car. They saw me and opened the door.  My brief impatience this morning was probably cranky but the rest was definitely bad customer service.

The Takeaway

Make it easy for a new or prospective customer to deal with you. If they cannot easily contact you for inquiries or services, then you lose them as a customer now and forever.

Those are my thoughts.  Over to you.  Please comment below.

1.      Do you think I was cranky or was it bad customer service?

2.      Would you go to any of these auto dealers?

3.      How do you ensure good customer service?

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  1. Eleonora Oheron says:

    if you open a business, customer service is always a must. ”

  2. Crankiness for most of the time is just an effect of a poor service. but there are times that consumers think it’s a bad service though it is good is just because he’s just having a bad day. Just something to add: “praising excellent customer service makes a difference” there are not much articles about kudos for CS people, maybe we should try to make one 😉

    • Rob Berman says:


      I do try and praise good service but call out bad service as well. Writing more about good service is a good idea. We need some good examples.



  3. “Cause and Effect” come to mind here. Poor customer service is the cause while crankiness is the effect!

    Of course the power we hold as consumers is our freedom of choice… to take our business elsewhere. Realizing this, I follow “the Golden Rule” in running my business. And… as a parent, I’m doing the best I can to instill the concept of work ethic into my 15 year old. We do have the power of infuence.

  4. I think you definitely experienced extremely poor customer service. It amazes me how companies can treat customers (and potential customers) so poorly.

    Personally, I practice good customer service by always responding as soon as humanly possible. Even if my response is I won’t be able to completely answer your question until… (insert day here) at least they know that their call/email/question is important to me and that I have heard them.

    Of course, following up when I say I will is equally important. Getting back to them even quicker usually earns me bonus points. 🙂

  5. Susan Oakes says:

    Hi Rob,

    I think our tolerance level is getting lower or at least mine is. You were given bad service.

    Customer service is not that hard when you think about it, just do the simple things and ask “how would I like to be treated”.

    • Rob Berman says:


      The day after I wrote the post I had another round of bad customer service. At this point, I feel like I should be paying people when I get acceptable or good customer service.


  6. Hi Rob,

    You sound like you are describing one of my days :). The answers to your questions are as follows:
    1. Do you think I was cranky or was it bad customer service? I think you were cranky AS A RESULT of bad customer service

    2. Would you go to any of these auto dealers? – Certainly not the first one!

    3. How do you ensure good customer service? Make sure no matter how I feel or what garbage I am dealing with, I don’t share it with customers. They are the only ones who matter and quite frankly, they “don’t give a damn” (Rhett Butler)

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