The Inspiration for this Blog

As a consumer I have been mistreated numerous times by the poor practices of companies whose purpose in life should be to value me as a long term customer.

Instead I frequently come across manufacturers and retailers who lack common sense and in the worst cases, come across as arrogant when I have a problem with their product or service. I’m not referring to situations where someone working at one of these companies is having a bad day and I was their unfortunate victim. Rather, I’m appalled at the poor customer service culture that is engrained in far too many companies. They put more effort into writing and enforcing company policies than they do to take care of customers’ concerns.

For many years I thought about writing a book titled “Bad Business” to document these horror stories. I was going to wait until I retired because I certainly don’t have the time right now for such a project. Thanks to the advent of blogging, it is now possible for me to write my stories on this blog one at a time, instead of writing an entire book. It costs me very little other than time, and I don’t have to go through the trouble of publishing a book.

Not all my stories are about bad experiences. There are also some “Good Tales” where I was treated well by a manufacturer or retailer. They surprised me with their empathy and a true desire to solve my problem and I commend them for their good customer service.

I have dozens of more good and bad stories to tell. Feel free to subscribe and I will let you know when a new blog is posted.

Lee Mrkonjic

Bad Tales: Why do companies
fail at customer service?

The root cause of bad customer service in a company is the corporate culture that allows it to happen. This holds true in a small business with 10 employees or a large corporation with 10,000 employees.

The tone is set by the executive and managers at the top, and it works its way down through the management ranks and front line employees. When too many employees feel overworked, stressed or badgered by management they become unhappy. This creates a culture of resentment and distrust. Eventually the unhappiness will manifest itself in front of customers who end up suffering and that’s not good for business.

Changing the culture in a company towards a customer service mindset is difficult. The will to change has to start at the top but it can’t be decreed by senior management. Employees won’t trust any new directives from senior management because they perpetuate the negative culture in the first place. Senior management has to lead by example and empower employees at every level to help change the culture.

The change will be realized sooner in a small business because the hierarchy is smaller and there are fewer employees to reach. It will take longer in a large organization because there are multiple layers of management and thousands of employees to reach. It’s not impossible to change the culture but it will take time and perseverance to see it through.

Customers will notice improvements in customers service and they will appreciate it.

Bad Taste: Companies taking advantage of consumers

While Bad Tales are examples of poor customer service from specific companies, Bad Taste are examples of companies and entire industries with dubious business practices. They are not guilty of bad customer service as such, but their blatant intent on misleading consumers for the sake of increasing their profits is deplorable.

Good Tales: Companies that
get it right

The companies in this section are the complete opposite of those in the Bad Tales section, and it’s refreshing. The positive manner in which they handled my problem is a reflection of the good values of the company. Their response was sincere and they took pride in providing me with the best customer service possible.

They take it personally if a competitor with bad customer service tarnishes their industry. Competitors are always a threat but they understand the best way to defeat competition is to build long term loyalty through excellent customer service.
Page last updated 2018-01-08