Customer Service Horror StoriesThe Velaro Team’s favorites, revealed!

For Customer Service Week (and Halloween) this year, we decided to take an informal survey and gather shockingly bad customer service stories from industry professionals and our followers on social media. Read through our favorites below and then hear some simple solutions that could have changed these horror stories into happily-ever-afters:

Photo Finish

“Last December, I spent 4 hours building a photo calendar—something I’ve done every year since 2007. I always give the calendar as a gift to my wife, dad and mother-in-law. During the checkout process, the system—not my computer—hiccupped and my entire order was lost including all the work I put into it. I waited 47 minutes on “hold” to chat with an agent. 47 minutes! I got through only to be told the agent couldn’t do anything and they’d have to log a ticket and that I’d hear within 48 hours. Then crickets. I never heard back…until 9 months later (I kid you not!). I get an email in September the following year asking if the issue was resolved to my satisfaction. Sure was! I switched to their competitor.”

Going Postal

“The Post Office admitted to delivering my box to the wrong address. And then refused to reimburse me for it even though they admitted it was their mistake.”

Depressed About Delivery

“When you’re too tired to make dinner and you just need something quick and easy preferably delivered right to your door, the last thing you want is to have issues. Almost every single time I order food for takeout I have anxiety that my order is going to be completely wrong, or not come at all. Why? Because it always seems like the people on the other end of the phone are uninterested or are too busy to listen. I can’t even pinpoint just one restaurant because so many are guilty of this. Bottom line: If you want to keep me as a customer, speak clearly, loudly, repeat the order back to me, and don’t sound like you’re not even focused on the conversation. I realize it can get busy in the kitchen, but I’m still a paying customer looking for a few seconds of undivided attention. Is that too much to ask?”

A Cold Cuppa

“My Western road trip tale… I desperately needed coffee and kept an eye out for decent chain restaurant easily on/off the freeway. When at last I stopped and dragged myself to the counter for a steaming cuppa, the waitress took my order and set down my brew. One sip and I recoiled at the stone-cold liquid. Locating the waitress, I reported to her the problem. She gazed at me in a puzzled way and stated that this was the way the coffee was in the pot, then walked off. Silly me thinking she had gone to remedy this, but no. She did not return. Any caffeine-deprived road zombie can relate, and would have chased her down and insisted a fresh pot of coffee be brewed NOW, then watched while this was done not budging until steaming lifesaving darkness was in hand.”

It’s In the Mail?

“I once ordered tickets for a concert in another city. Two weeks before the concert, I got an email that my tickets had been shipped and they would arrive on the Saturday before my flight. The tickets never arrived. On Monday, I got an email that the tickets wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday, sending me into a panic. My flight was leaving on Thursday and this was cutting it close. I called customer service, they canceled those tickets and gave me new ones they said would come electronically. On Wednesday (the day before my flight) I finally got the confirmation email for this second set of tickets, but when I went to print them I got a message saying “electronic tickets” were no longer available! The company didn’t deliver when they said they would, sold me a service they didn’t even offer any longer, and never called me to tell me any of this. The company finally agreed to ship the tickets to the concert location, and they still didn’t arrive until just two hours before the concert was scheduled to start. Needless to say, that kind of stress made me never want to buy tickets from that company again.”


See what lessons the Velaro team learned from reading through all the submissions here.