In this day and age, where competition seems to be fierce in just about all of the retail service-oriented industries, it is beyond me how so many companies just fail to get things right. I can only guess that they either think they are too big to make customer service a priority, or that they just don’t realize that customer service is at the top of consumers’ list of needs when making purchasing choices.
You may have noticed poor service from your cell phone and cable TV companies, or even in the treatment you get at the checkout line of your preferred brick-and-mortar retail store.
It’s time to point fingers. I’d like to unveil my list of the top 5 worst companies when it comes to customer service. Some of the commentary in this article is based on personal experience, and some on research.
Companies with the Worst Customer Service
Surprise, surprise. Are you shocked that this is the first company on the list? Probably not. Although I will admit that it’s a bit easier than it used to be to get out of a Walmart with your purchases in a timely fashion, I am still puzzled by the fact that most Walmart stores are equipped with 20 or so cash registers yet typically only have a few employees running them. Can someone explain that to me?
Walmart offers superior pricing on almost all levels, but since you often need to spend a long time waiting in line to get checked out, you have to ask if the savings are really worthwhile. Secondly, have you ever needed help in a Walmart with a particular purchase? Did you walk through the aisles looking around for an associate to answer a question you might have? It’s not easy. The employees are all over the place, but rarely do they seem to have the customer in mind.
This is one of my favorite least favorite companies. Personally speaking, I long ago “fired” Comcast as my home cable provider because of substandard customer service. But recently, I needed to schedule a service call for a Comcast account at my day job. And here’s the treatment I got: I spent more than three hours on the phone with them, being transferred from one department to the other, until I finally was able to speak with someone who could help me. After all that, they didn’t show up for scheduled appointments, until finally, after three weeks of dealing with them, I got my desired result.
Comcast’s customer service is lousy, and there is no other way to spin it. It also doesn’t help that the company often has many outages and lengthy lag times across their spectrum of products.
3. Bank of America
I had a short and highly unfavorable experience with Bank of America. It is my firm belief that they simply think they are too big to be bothered with providing decent customer service. On various websites dedicated to rating companies based on their level of customer service, Bank of America is consistently ranked in the bottom 10%.
With BofA, it is oh-so-easy to get stuck in one of their pre-recorded message phone loops where you can never get to a real person. They also have a significant percentage of simply incompetent customer service reps, who at times don’t even know their own policies. On top of all that, they have had fairly serious security breaches in the past. Beware before banking with these guys.
With competition keenly aggressive in the cell phone industry, it is again puzzling to me why Sprint’s customer service is so poor. While I have had no personal experience with this company, its rotten reputation precedes it. No matter how cheap a cell phone plan the company offers, I would never even consider going with Sprint. I uncovered customer service complaints ranging from just plain rude representatives to contracts that are virtually impossible to get out of. And as far as I can tell, most of the call centers are based overseas, bringing its own set of built-in problems. In the end, there are simply too many red flags here – tread lightly before considering Sprint.
5. Wells Fargo
Customer service ranking websites also give low marks to Wells Fargo, and here’s my personal experience. I was a faithful customer of Wachovia for many years, and then that bank was bought out by Wells Fargo. The transition was a nightmare for the consumer, but I guess that’s to be expected in this day and age. However, even post-merger, the poor experience continues.
Currently, although the company claims that customer service is its “number one priority,” it truly isn’t. It has a much more stringent set of policies that are apparently impenetrable by any customer service reps. The impression the company gives is one of inflexibility; it has its policies and it’s not going to deviate from them one iota. Pretty sad, in my estimation.
Let’s face it. A lot of companies just don’t get it: customer service is king these days! There is simply too much competition out there to ignore this fact, and companies that don’t get on the ball are going to suffer in the end.
Who is in your list of top five worst companies when it comes to customer service?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)