The Best Customer Service and the Worst Customer Service – In 1 Store, In 1 Night

Today, after finishing my part time job my wife and I decided to dander around a few shops in the Retail Park to have a look at gift ideas and a few other things. While there my wife decided to enter Carphone Warehouse to find out more about the present she was considering buying me. There we were served by a girl called Amy who gave one of the best examples of Customer Services we have witnessed. Then we went across the shop (it’s an all in one store) and received the outright worst example of dealing with a customer I have ever witnessed in Game.

Carphone Warehouse

My wife has kindly offered to get my a Smartphone this Christmas so we went into Carphone Warehouse and as I said was served by a young girl named Amy. She was very patient with my wife, who can be confused by technology at times and explained everything in simple enough terms so she could understand, but went into enough details that the technologically minded like myself.

Originally I was looking at the Samsung Galaxy Europa, or it’s close cousin the Samsung Galaxy Apollo, which they don’t have in. She explained the abilities of the phone and got one for me to test, and let me compare it against another phone I was considering, the Blackberry. She asked what the phone would be being used for and what sort of contract/pay as you go service we had and looked up various options to suit us.

By the time we were done we had been shown around 10 phone packages, on various networks, and introduced other phones with better capabilities for the same price range, as well as free gift options. She was pleasant, wasn’t pushy in the slightest and told us to go away and think before rushing into choosing a phone or a contract. Also introduced us into the idea of free gifts with the contract.

Following this, feeling very, very happy with the customer service we had received we walked over to Game, where we were considering buying an X Box 360 with the Kinect. That’s where it all went wrong.


Over in Game we had a look at the Kinect since it was on display. On approach the X Box said the Kinect needed calibrating and to follow onscreen instructions. So with my wife looking to test it we began calibration. Enter the assistant at Game.

Bad Customer Service Step One – Accuse a Customer without Proof

In the middle of following the X Box instructions the Assistant came over and accused me of breaking the Kinect by using the controller, he didn’t say excuse me, his tone wasn’t informative but brash and arrogant. At this stage I decided I didn’t want to be involved in the transaction, so I let my wife continue.

Bad Customer Service Step Two – Fail at Demonstration

Following being ignorant to me and accusing me of breaking the Kinect he continued to Demo it “properly” to my wife. To start he told her to reach out and told her there should be a cursor on screen. There wasn’t and he refused to believe her, so he came closer to prove his point. There wasn’t one. No “oops” or the more appropriate “sorry”, he took charge (despite my wife wanting to test it) and continued to struggle to get it to work.

Bad Customer Service Step Three – Lie Through Your Teeth and Blame Customers

The Assistant struggled to get the Kinect working, and when he began to get it to work another customer stood near him to watch what he was doing and the equipment started to struggle with more than one person in view. When my wife asked if it was difficult to use (considering the “trained” staff member was finding it difficult”) he snapped and said it was the other customers fault for interfering and claimed he was struggling to set it up earlier because another customer had screwed it up.

Bad Customer Service Step Four – Insult Your Customers

Following this my wife asked if children ran around in front of the Kinect, would it cause an issue. The Assistant retorted with a comment saying that our children, note the assumption as my wife asked if children would effect it, not that we had any, should be kept under control and made to play the game.

Bad Customer Service Step Five – Ridicule Your Customer to Their Face

My wife pointed out that with more than one child around the interference could be a major issue, and said it seemed like a bug. The Assistant told her she was wrong, commented again about controlling children and insisted that Technology never has any faults. The Assistant then implied it was my wife who was the problem, and not the Kinect, despite him himself operating it, and struggling to do so.

Bad Customer Service Step Six – Lie Some More

Before things had got this far I had moved away from the demo pod, watching from another part of the store. When the Assistant continued to lie and speak in an arrogant manner my wife decided to leave, with me two steps ahead of her. Being deeply insulted and angered by the exchange she decided to complain to the Store Manager. When she went in to the Manager he claimed to have listened and witnessed every word of the discussion, despite at the time operating the tills and dealing with other customers. He refused to see wrong in the way we had been treated and denied it as if it had never happened.

Two Opposite Ends of the Scale

I am frankly amazed of the difference in standard in these two shops that are operating out of the one store. The fact what we were looking to purchase was approximately £300 it’s not that the item was a small purchase, and likewise I would like to think if I ever spoke to a customer like that I would be given at least a verbal warning from my manager, not defended.

Have You Had Bad Experiences? Or Good Ones?

Let us know about your good and bad customer service experiences, let people know what to avoid and where they should shop!

3 thoughts on “The Best Customer Service and the Worst Customer Service – In 1 Store, In 1 Night

  1. I’m glad you both were able to keep your cool, had I of been you I would of been having words with him!
    But it goes to show you how customer service really affects a store, and shows how it can really vary I know the Game in Antrim, Northern Ireland the person was really nice and got me discounts and everything when I was purchasing my xbox.
    In saying that the Carphone Warehouse staff in Ballymena were also very nice and usually are in any store, apart from Colraine where they failed to change the price of an item 3 weeks in a row and also failed to realise the trading standards where, because it was displayed at the price, they had to give it to me AT that price but refused. I hate being a teenager.

    Oh modern times.

  2. As your example shows, social media dramatically increases the penalties to businesses (both in terms of bad PR and loss of sales) of poor customer service. And rightly so. I do hope both companies’ PR teams are monitoring the blogosphere and twitter, and respond to you.

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