Scary Customer Experience Stories


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Happy Halloween!

I’ve got my pumpkin “Grinch” shown here that I made in a time crunch last night, made my Oreo Eyeball cookies and now I’m contemplating a biker costume tonight when I visit my third haunted house of the month! What are you doing tonight?

To contribute to the festivities, the team collected a few customer stories that will make your jaw drop. Oh the horror! Since robust reviews are usually written out of extreme delight or anger, they are rightfully very detailed. And lengthy. We’re going to share with you one story from the customer and employee perspective but we would be pleased if you could share your own experiences in the comments! Despite the Halloween theme, these are very real cases that we can learn from.

The first nightmare I present you is from my own brother who spoke up immediately when I asked because he was scarred even though it was over a year ago:

Well let’s say I had a nightmare customer experience at one of my local Autozone stores. FYI, I’m a Deaf customer. One morning my old car died and the engine light turned on. Miraculously, it came back to life but I immediately took the car to Autozone store. I came inside the store and there was an old man and a young lady. I went to the old man and informed him I needed to replace the battery (I used the paper to write it down). He read and talked to me. I nodded my head to act like I understood but I actually didn’t. So we went to the battery section and he said something about the battery. I just stood and said nothing so I decided to take the battery and placed on the cart because I assumed he was too old to handle the battery. We came back to pay for the battery. Also I asked him to scan my car’s engine light and install the battery for me. He kept talking and talking. I even wrote down on the paper saying,”I CANNOT HEAR!” He kept talking. The young lady came in and took care of this issue. She informed me that I needed to come back in a couple hours because there wouldl be another worker coming in to take care of the scan thing and battery install. So I came back a couple hours later. The SAME LADY scanned the engine light for me. I was frustrated. I ordered a new sensor to take care of the engine light issue. I was told to come back later to pick it up because they didn’t have the sensor and they needed to pick it up from a different store. I came back the few hours later. They didn’t have it. They told me to wait for another few hours. I was more frustrated. Few hours later, I came back and they ‘apologized” about waiting for this sensor because it was already sitting there and they forgot about this. It pressed my button. So I had my ex-girlfriend help explain and interpreted for me for the store manager and he was very very upset and actually dropped his jaw. He apologized very strongly and offered me discount for my next purchase. A month later, I came back to the store and it was filled with new workers. And it was much better service.

It would be a safe bet to guess the manager took initiative by replacing its workers to preserve service quality of the shop which, by the way, where my brother remains a loyal customer.

Rob, one of my community manager pals wrote me:

I used to work for a video rental chain. Our store was located in what you would describe as “on the border of a sketchy part of town.” We had quite a few unstable people around the area, for various reasons. Most of the time it was heartbreaking or pretty innocuous, but there were a couple times where it went totally awry. It was the middle of the afternoon, a pretty slow time for the store. I guy walked in, and I greeted him as usual. I received to response, but noticed that he had headphones on, so no big. After a few minutes of wandering around, he ended up in our video game area, where there was a wide length window. Suddenly, I heard him singing. Not quietly humming to himself, but belting. Poorly. Normally, I’d have just let this go, but it spiraled from there. He was singing some ballad unknown to me, and tears started. Then it turned into blubbering sobs, while still singing at the top of his lungs. I started to become concerned. He was pacing, frantically, back and forth along the window. Sob-singing this song. He then began pounding on the windows, and I decided that someone more authoritative needed to get involved and I called the police. They had to literally drag him out of the store. Still sobbing. It was a little sad, but I didn’t want to see what the next step in his progression was going to be.

I think Rob responded in a fantastic way to ensure safety for the surrounding patrons and employees.

Both stories very different, but intense. What about you?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


  1. Fun idea for a blog Jeannie. As consumers we can all come up with some crazy stories I’m sure. My recent bad experience was when I contacted LifeStation (health services company) to confirm my mom’s service had been cancelled (she passed on). I used their online form to submit my question and the next day I got a sales call with someone who said hello and then started into a sales pitch. I stopped them to say I had emailed the company to clarify that my mom’s service was turned off due to her passing on. That sales rep didn’t say sorry or anything, she just told me to call customer service and gave me the phone number. My main issue was that they didn’t read the email I submitted about the reason for my inquiry and just treated me as a sales lead. The fact that they didn’t seem to care about my mom wasn’t great either.

  2. Wow, Kim, I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. That is bad experience on a number of levels. I have heard about this particular scenario – loved ones taking care of things after a family member has died – and it is always especially troubling and heartbreaking. No matter what kind of customer we are, or what kind of organization we are dealing with, we are all people first. It’s shameful to ignore the normal human experience and not show empathy. I’m sorry that happened.


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