As a result, Comcast, New Jersey Transit and United Airlines reign unchallenged as my personal customer experience Axis of Evil.
Recently, though, I had separate experiences with three brands for whom I'd hitherto held in high regard.
In each case, a single representative's behavior resulted in changing my perceptions of the entire organization. Here's what happened:
1) A journalist at a top trade told my assistant he was flying to the States just to interview little, old me. I was flattered, and rearranged my schedule accordingly. The morning of the interview, though, he canceled. No explanation. No apology. Nothing.
2) The president of a local sports team set a meeting with me, asked me how to improve his team's horrific image, requested a proposal and then never, ever, returned my e-mails or calls.
3) The human resources director of a company that is synonymous with world class customer service invited me to a meeting in her Western headquarters. I flew out the night before, holed up in a hotel, hopped in a cab the next morning and strolled into the legendary reception area only to be told, “Sorry, Jane wasn't feeling well and went home. Would you like a tour?” That was it. No apology. No re-scheduled meeting. Just an out-of-pocket expense for $2,000, and two full days lost forever.
Rudeness seems to have become the currency of the realm nowadays. Sadly, though, the three individuals named above haven't figured out that they ARE the brand. And, thanks to them, whenever someone mentions the company names to me, I recoil in disgust.
How telling is it that businesses everywhere are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into improving customer experience without realizing some of their top executives are simultaneously undermining their image and reputation by simple rudeness?