Hey Big Company, There Are No Excuses For Bad Customer Service!

Bic-Graphic-Customer-ServiceI spent nearly 2 hours on a conference call with my Phone.com customer and a nameless phone provider’s customer support department yesterday afternoon.

The entire call felt similar to the reaction to the sound created by nails dragging on a chalk board.

Was the issue solved at the end of this call? Not at all.

My customer is transferring two business numbers to us from the other phone provider to us. We have a date set for a couple weeks out for this to happen. However, the other provider released the numbers early and cancelled the account without authorization, resulting in the customer’s main business lines being out of service.


So, I jump on the conference call, hoping to talk to someone about this issue. Apparently, the department we need doesn’t have phones. My customer and I then became bean bags, kicked around from department to department, each representative telling us they cannot provide much information but “so and so department” can.

We then were transferred to a “supervisor” line.

We waited almost 20 minutes in the “supervisor” queue. At least there was a soundtrack of epic hold music on high volume to keep us occupied.

Finally when the “supervisor” answered, we were talked over when explaining the situation and then told again, that he doesn’t have access to the information we need and must create a ticket.

We cannot have a copy of the ticket though. We also cannot talk to the department that we need. And, the “supervisor” isn’t even empowered to have the information necessary to solve our problem and must create a ticket. That has a 24-48 hour turn around for “urgent” issues. He reminded us they are a large company and they must follow the process.

While yes, I was furious and my customer was furious, I also left the call with this thought:

How sad.

How sad it is that this company cannot empower its agents to handle issues. They must pass the issues on like hot potatoes, whether they want to or not.

I want to know:

  • Is being a large company an excuse for bad customer service?
  • Is being a large company an excuse for not empowering your agents?


Think about large companies that do it right. I’m sure you have your favorites. My top two are:



The age old saying of, “Size doesn’t matter” definitely applies here (ok, get your mind out of the gutter…).

This post isn’t about HOW to do it right–it’s about the need for these companies to see the value and importance in customer service that actually serves your customer.

So–why do large companies succeed in $$ but fail in #CustServ?

Some ideas:

  • Employees Not Valued: low pay, bad work environment/culture, not empowered
  • Lack Of Leadership: The leaders are unhappy too!
  • Strict Policy: No empowerment to go outside the box for the customer
  • Unclear Mission Or Values: If the focus is on $$ rather than the customer, then that’s what will guide every decision.

There are so many more that I’m missing (share your thoughts, please) and just hope that one day, things will change for large companies and we won’t have to waste time with bad service ever again!

I dream big!




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  • Bad customer service?! Sounds more like non-existent customer service!! What a nightmare…just reading this story makes me hope that your customer names and shames the other provider on social media. I swear, it seems like the only way to get through to these massive companies sometimes!
    I totally agree with your assertion that corporate bureaucracy limits employees from offering (or even imagining!) unique solutions for customers whose problems may not fit the mold. I also feel like a lot of large companies need to invest more thoroughly in initial and follow-up staff training. That way, everyone is on the same page in terms of what they can and should be offering their customers.

    • Alicia–YES! Non-existent service. Sad! It is interesting how they reply on Social Media–I’m not sure if my customer did this but I reallllly wanted to (though it might not look so wonderful coming from me). How can large companies start to invest more in their staff? Why do large companies forget this is such a big deal until it hits social media with a viral video?!

  • I’m sorry to hear about your poor experience, Jenny.

    Why does it happen so often in big companies? I’ll add one more to your list: silos.

    Larger companies are so much more complicated to manage. You often can’t just walk down the hall and ask your co-worker to fix something. In a big company, they might be in another city, state, or even country. They might also work for a different company that’s part of a partially outsourced process. And, despite lip-service about good service, most of these companies are specifically trying to make all of those complicated silo parts fit together to deliver a seamless experience.

    • Great point, Jeff. There’s gotta be a magic solution to get all of these puzzle pieces to work together. If you were presented with this from a customer asking for your insight, what are a few things you’d advise them to do to deliver the experience seamlessly?

      • I’d tell these companies to get serious about service. It has to be part of their core.

        The best organizations relentlessly stick to the basics:
        1) Define great service
        2) Measure it (this is especially important in big orgs)
        3) Win the moments of truth.

        I tell my clients it’s a never-ending journey. Few are prepared for that:

  • I have made a career out of being a human being. I speak to big business all the time and when I deliver my message the underlying theme is always this: People want to deal with people and they don’t want to feel like numbers. Throw away the outdated procedures manuals, stop giving the excuse of “It’s always been done that way” and get back to being a business focused on the customer and not just on growing business and improving metrics. Well, the positive side of this? I will have a job for a very long time because it doesn’t seem to be getting better out there. Great post Jenny. xo

    • Doug, thanks for your comment! Gotta love how you spin it to a positive. You WILL always have a job, that’s for sure. There are so many big companies that need that human being aspect brought back to the forefront. Thank you for being the “nice” guy who does just that!

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