Paolo Fabrizio
October 1, 2019

What Will You Do When Your Customer Screws Up?

What Will You Do When The Customer Screws Up?

Nobody’s perfect – neither you nor your customers. In fact, sometimes even the most admired brands make customer service mistakes. But they typically have the ability to turn such pitfalls into great customer experiences.

In this article though I’m going to focus on the other side of the coin: helping you fix issues that you did not even cause, i.e. when the customer screws up. The best way for me to do that is to show you a real example (story) and what you may learn from it while gaining valuable insights for your organization.

When The Customer Screws Up (real story)

Last week, I was THAT customer. I’d just ordered a pair of blue jeans online and everything seemed to be alright. After a couple of minutes though, I received the welcome email confirming my purchase. But, in that very moment, I realized that I forgot to select my size before placing my online order. So that pair of jeans would be in the default size and would never fit me.

To make it worse, this was my fault. I could not do what irate customers usually do: getting angry with customer service. In fact, I immediately sent an email to the customer service to let them know what happened, hoping that they would promptly intervene before the wrong jeans were shipped.

Now, here comes the juicy part of this customer experience. After 40 minutes I got a reply from Jessica from customer service saying:

“Good morning Paolo,

I am Jessica from Customer Service. First of all we welcome you as a new customer. As for your order n° xxxxx, there is no problem because I’ve already contacted our warehouse asking them change the size of your jeans. These will ship tomorrow with no issue for you.

Wishing you a nice weekend,


What Can You Learn From This CX?

1. Be aware of customer’s emotions. As you may imagine, I felt such a relief reading Jessica’s response. Moreover, Jessica represented in my mind much more than a customer service representative: if she’s been fast and reliable and she works for that brand → the whole brand is reliable. Consequently, I’ll likely buy more stuff from them. Like it or not, in such situations customers still use syllogism, a thought pattern that ancient Greek philosophers identified thousands of years ago!

2. Be present and speedy. Regardless of the type and number of support channels you use, make sure your staff is able to respond in a quick and effective manner. This becomes paramount when you provide assistance via digital channels such as social media, live chat and/or instant messaging apps.

3. Hire the right people. Dealing every day with many customers with different personalities is not an easy job, and it may suit for everybody. So, when hiring customer service assistants, make sure to check their motivations and skills, and their full potential as they will become VOICE of your brand. Learn more about this topic in this video excerpt from the panel ‘Build, train and engage your customer service team’ that I attended as a speaker as part of the Customer Service and Experience Summit in London in September.

Over To You

Sometimes you may make a mistake. Other times, the customer screws up. In both cases, your customer service will make the difference by proactively reaching to the customer – if possible – after already fixing the problem. This good news is a relief for any customer and it proves that that can count on you.

In such situations, this is the most effective way to build and consolidate customer’s trust.

Have great conversations.


If you’d like some consulting or other help with your customer service, please contact us

Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Paolo Fabrizio

Digital Customer Service Consultant, Trainer, Author, Speaker. Paolo has been helping companies to harness digital customer service as a business driver. Founder of CustomerServiceCulture, author of books and speaker at conferences in Italy and abroad. Lecturer at the Bicocca University of Milan