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We've all been there, it's nothing new, but what gets to me is that we, as consumers, accept 'it' even though we all agree it is wrong. And by not saying anything, companies and brands will continue with it - this crazy thing called 'bad service'.
© Full copyright as Brandlove.
Maybe you can identify with the following story...

I was in a very well known and respected retail chain store over the weekend, getting bits and pieces for dinner and a well-deserved bottle of wine for myself with my two extremely busy and energetic boys (under the age of eight) in tow. Now, looking for a middle-range, drinkable Merlot is a challenge at the best of times, so the first sign of trouble was when I could not clearly see the prices and names of the wines. It was just packed and displayed all over the place (almost as all over the place as my two young boys running around in the aisles). And under this immense pressure, I grabbed the first workable solution wine that stated 'Merlot' in a price range I could justify, and headed to the express till with my 'less than 10 items' basket. At the till point my wine was scanned and the price displayed gave me goose bumps - 3 x the price that was displayed on the shelf.

As a customer experience professional, red flags just started waving in front of my mind's eye - "What's the best way to deal with this situation and how does it make me feel as a customer?" I just became a very interesting case study, whether I liked it or not!

The poor teller looked at me and asked, "Do you still want the wine?" Rookie mistake, if ever I saw one. When I indicated 'Yes', a supervisor was called in and looked at me, thinking: "Oh man, another middle-aged woman whining about some stupid wine!" With a bit of effort it was established that the price tag and wine did not correspond (as if it was my mistake that the shelves were packed incorrectly) and the express till line just got longer and longer, with me trying to avoid eye contact and trying to keep my cool in front of my oh-so-innocent children.

Emotion = experience

In the end, it was no longer about the wine. It was about the way that the store and its employees made me feel in that moment. Some emotions experienced were: shame, as it triggered the beast in me; discomfort, because I caused a delay for other patrons; and anger, as it made me feel as if I did something wrong.

This whole situation could have been avoided if the management of this fine establishment just took the time to stock their wine section with the correct wine displayed with the correct price tags, for their staff to be more helpful in managing possible explosive situations like this and for their managers to take ownership and find solutions to problems that their customers might have.

In the end, I left the store without any wine and without my dignity. This retailer will not see me in-store again. I will rather spend my money at a store where I feel valued and where I will not be put in this situation again.

The moral of the story - retailers and brands alike need to start focusing on the problems that they solve for their customers rather than become the problem themselves. I'm sure everyone reading this can share their own customer (dis)experience story. Customers really do deserve to be treated with respect. Let's help businesses by setting the acceptable service-standard bar a bit higher and not accepting bad service anymore. #Badcustomerservicemustfall!

About Mareli Smit

Creative, focused, goal driven, loyal and a team player with a passion for relationship building through targeted communication and networking - with a knack for organising almost anything under the sun!
Read more: BrandLove, Mareli Smit

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