Customer Service Fail: Opportunity Lost

My Mom is a movie nut. She loves to watch movies, particularly somewhat obscure ones, but also some very mainstream ones. She subscribes to a certain service where DVDs are mailed to her home for a set price, including return shipping.

Perfect in a world where there are no video stores to speak of and where she doesn’t find the selection she wants on the Internet streaming sites.

For the last year or two, the service has been reasonable. She would get a DVD, watch it, return it, mark it returned at the site and within a day, the company would send out another from her list, even before having received the returned DVD.

Lately, that hasn’t been happening. She marks them returned. Then nothing.

So she sent them a little note: “I returned a movie June 17th…to-day June 27th, I have not heard from you nor has a new movie been sent. Service seems to be getting slower. Not happy.”

This was the perfect opportunity for the company to do something good. Opportunities, as it were, to provide some actual service and show the world that Internet based companies aren’t aloof and disinterested in the customer experience.

Instead, this is what she got:

“Thank you for contacting member services. We’re sorry to hear of this delivery delay. Your recent rental is still showing as out. There may be circumstances impacting delivery that are beyond both yours and our control, which is why we suggest waiting at least 6 business days from the date of shipment to report the issue.

After the end of the 6th business day please follow the instruction listed below in the included URL to Report a Problem.


We appreciate the time you’ve taken to report this issue.

You will receive an automated email with the resolution of this case once it’s been closed.

If you need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us again.



Al: your service sucks. Not only does it not address her concern but it fails to even try to make her feel like a valued customer.

You can’t set a customer expectation, exercise it for at least a year and then take it away. Setting and maintaining expectations are the LEAST any company can do (let alone exceeding them).

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