Who ever said bad customer service isn’t funny?
Case in point: The following collection of videos, which are a must-see for anyone who works in a customer-service job or who has ever had a service problem with a company.
In other words, just about everyone.
The videos are more than humorous, though. They’re also instructive, offering broader lessons about becoming a better customer and avoiding truly awful (though sometimes laugh-out-loud funny) service.
1. I’ll probably be here
(My cable doesn’t work from wbrcomedy)
This clip from comedian John Caparulo describes a common frustration in uncommonly funny terms. You experience a service outage, you call for help, and the company responds in a frustratingly slow way.
Caparulo’s rant about TV and books is humorous, but the underlying sentiment isn’t. When something goes wrong with a product, companies should be as responsive as possible. And they shouldn’t treat their customers like dummies (“is the TV plugged in?”).
2. You got a problem with my soup?
(Hidden camera from listedabive)
Careful how you phrase that complaint. You could end up like the guy in this video, performed for a “hidden camera” show, which leaves him wearing his lunch. Notice the expressions on the faces of the other restaurant patrons, who are amused and shocked by the incident until they realize the same fate may befall them. The clip makes an important point about how to respond to bad service: very politely.
3. What are you, some kind of girlie man?
(Dell Customer Service from xkrazychickens)
Whether this is an authentic customer-service call or not may be debatable. What isn’t is that every call center worker has, at some point or another, probably fantasized about telling a customer off in this way. The would-be buyer phones Dell and asks for a price on a PC, but is turned off by the lack of speakers included in the package. When he balks at making the purchase, the employee, Robert, begins to berate him in this almost-NSFW video. Lesson learned? Next time, buy your computer online – at least it won’t insult you.
4. Sometimes you have to exaggerate to make a point
(McDonald’s training video from meronaambhupal)
Check out this fascinating “insider” view on customer service. It’s a McDonald’s training video that describes good service in a way that’s engaging and even funny. I like the snowdrifts and dirt tracks that make a point about keeping a store at the right temperature and well-maintained. Now, if we could only get fast-food restaurants to follow it. This video shows what they want you to see in a restaurant, although it’s not altogether clear that this clip is meant to be viewed outside the company.
5. Bait-and-switch can be funny
(Best Price Cameras from mbeals47)
Here’s a bit of vigilante journalism that will make you chuckle, unless you’ve ever been taken by a questionable electronics store. So this guy is shopping for a video camera and stumbles upon a business that tries to undercut the competition with a low price. Except it isn’t undercutting them – it’s running what appears to be a bait-and-switch scam. Morale of the story? If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Oh, but you already knew that, didn’t you?
See? Bad customer service can be good – as long as you’re trying to make people laugh.
Christopher Elliott is a consumer advocate who blogs about getting better customer service at On Your Side. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook or send him your questions by email.