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8 Worst Mistakes You Don’t Want to repeat!

by Colin Shaw on January 19, 2016

Ever blown it with a Customer? Sure. We all have. Mistakes are part of being human, after all. Hopefully, you learned from it, made your sincere apology,and carried on.

Here are 8 worst mistakes with Customer Experience that we hope brands learned from:

    1. “It’s not the pants, it’s your body type” excuse from Lululemon.Remember when the CEO of Lululemon Chip Wilson said the reason that their pants weren’t wearing well was because the pants weren’t made for all women’s bodies—particularly those whose thighs touched (which is most women, by the way)?
    2. Jetstar Airways flight attendant asked female passenger how many weeks along she was—and she wasn’t pregnant! The flight attendant on Jetstar Airways, an Australian budget airline, asked the woman how many weeks she was gesturing at her midsection. Like many airlines, they have a policy that women after 28 weeks must turn over a doctor’s note that they are okay to fly. When she replied she wasn’t expecting, the male flight attendant did not apologize. In her post on the airline’s site, she wrote, “I used to be quite heavily overweight and even then was never met by such a rude question and especially no remorse from the flight attendant.” The airline later sent a flight voucher to apologize for the incident.
    3. VW lied about their cars’ fuel efficiency. Last year, Volkswagen was caught in a lie about the fuel-efficiency of their CleanDiesel line of cars. They had programmed the emission control feature to kick in only during the emissions test. Their stock lost 30% in the first 24 hours after the discovery, faced fines of up to $18 billion, class actions lawsuits, and were subject to a criminal investigation in the U.S. The CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized and then resigned.
    4. Ryanair CEO says he charges passengers for “being so stupid.”Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair said that customers complaining about the boarding pass fee should “pay 60 Euros for being so stupid”?
    5. Comcast guy took a nap on Customer’s couch and son’s pillow during a service call. According to the YouTube Video, the family found the tech asleep on the couch in their entertainment room, using their son’s pillow for his head. He was roused, where it appeared he would get to work. But then they found him asleep again! When they woke him the second time, he was angry, left, and then sat in front of their house for about a half an hour on his phone. Comcast apologized for the incident and freed up the employee’s time to take as many naps on his own couch or at the unemployment office. The family changed cable companies and is now much happier with their service!
    6. Bank of America planned to charge Customers a $5 debit card fee right after taxpayers bailed them out of insolvency. Back in 2011, right after the huge bailout American taxpayers gave Bank of America (B of A) and other large financial institutions deemed “too big to fail”, the bank announced they would charge a $5 monthly fee for debit cards. Customers threw all their toys out of the crib about it, pledging to move their money out of the big bank. B of A quickly backpedaled and dropped the fee, but the PR damage was done.
    7. The Union Street Guest House fines couples because their guests gave the hotel a bad review.The hotel in Hudson, NY, deducted $500 for every bad review posted on social media after the event from the couple’s deposit, with the chance to have it refunded if the review is removed. After the story started to gain steam, the owner “claimed” it was only a joke and had never been charged. But more than one former customer and guest of theirs said they were charged the fee.
    8. United Airlines claims no responsibility for broken guitar despite eye witness accounts of baggage handlers tossing passenger’s guitar into the plane. This is one of my favorites. The video says it all:

Sometimes mistakes are resolved. Those are the good times. But they aren’t always, and sometimes it’s because the company didn’t respond appropriately. VW is still suffering the damages of their dishonesty. And the Union Street Guest House has one and a half stars on Yelp! at the time of publishing.

Mistakes happen. The important thing to do is to respond appropriately, empathetically, and quickly when they do to prevent the fallout. As you can see by my examples, they happen all the time. And then the stories go viral or become the subject of  well-produced and highly entertaining country song on YouTube.

What stories did I leave out? I’d love to hear your examples in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, you might be interested in the following blogs:

6 Steps to a Great Apology

Union Street Guest House Commits the Worst Social Media Blunder Ever!

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly in Customer Experience Lately

Colin Shaw is the founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s leading Customer experience consultancy & training organizations. Colin is an international author of five bestselling books and an engaging keynote speaker.

Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter & Periscope @ColinShaw_CX

Colin Shaw8 Worst Mistakes You Don’t Want to repeat!