Don’t make your customers wrong #notawesome

Have you ever wanted to solve a problem, be heard, or make a suggestion but instead you made wrong, put down, and not listened to?

We all have, and I see this happen in government far to often. A similar experience happened to me today, not in government, but the lesson still apply…

Cross posted from

I’ve been an American Express customer since 1999. For the most part, I’ve had great customer services experiences – until today. American Express Gift Cards customer services made me wrong twice, earning them 2 not awesomes.

Here is what happened:

On Saturday, February 18th, I ordered a gift card and paid for next day shipping.

Today, It’s Friday, February 24, and I got an email saying your order has been shipped. Huh?

So I called. I was told my order just shipped because I added a custom message. If I had known that, I would not have placed the order as I needed the card delivered by this past Wednesday.

I told the rep I wanted to cancel the order. The rep said I cannot cancel the order, but I can give you a refund. This is where he made me wrong the first time which earned the first not awesome.

He then placed me on hold for a few minutes and refunded the cost. My original objective was met.

Because I care about customer service and feel it important to be a part of the solution, I told the rep that they should add notifications into the process. His response: it actually tells you twice. Well, obviously, not in a way I noticed. Thank for making me wrong again not awesome 2.

Lesson: Don’t make your customers wrong.

How he could have made this a better experience:

1) Upon hearing I wanted to cancel the order, instead of saying “I cannot not cancel” say, “I’m sorry this did not work out the way you expected, I’ll issue you a refund immediately.” I did not need to know they cannot technically cancel my order – I wanted a refund.

2) Upon hearing my feedback, instead of saying, “it actually tells you twice” say, “Thank you for offering feedback, we really appreciate that. What I am hearing is that you are suggesting we need to do a better job of making sure customers are aware that custom messages will increase the delivery time, is that correct? Then he could have asked (not made wrong), do you recall seeing any notification when placing the order”. Again, I don’t need to know there are notifications – I wanted my experience acknowledged.

Had the rep acknowledged that my expectations where not met and appreciate my offering feedback and demonstrate he was listening, I would not be writing this post.

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Pamela Corey

So basically you just want platitudes? I, personally, like knowing the details behind what I’m asking for and why they can or cannot do it the way I ask — because then you know how things work and can remember it for future interactions. I’m all for good customer service but in truthfulness sometimes the customer is wrong.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Pamela – my gut is that Joseph is onto something in terms of asking questions vs. responding with an outright “no” or “we did.” I get this more often than I’d like from customer service reps. At least, if you have to say “no”, say “I’m sorry. I wish I could help you on that – I really do.” Softens the blow.

Joseph Porcelli

Parmela, your point is well taken. Yes, sometimes, customers are wrong. But is the point proving someone is wrong or helping them solve the problems? What is the mission?

While misguided opinions, especially those not supported by direct experience or data, drive me crazy; the opportunity is here is to engage someone who is right infront you.

And yes, sometimes people don’t listen, nor do they want to hear what you have to say or want what you have to offer. In my case, I just wanted to be heard and contribute.

Jerry Rhoads

Basically the glass is half full versus half empty. That is what I am reading into this. Today I dealt with Comcast, they were horrible. So I went to Verizon, and now I am happy. What needs to hit home is that as customers leave, customer service reps loose their jobs. This needs to be drilled into every manager and employee, hence accountability is a must.