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Bad Customer Service By Email

Be careful what you say in emails – while we see them as an informal means of communication, you are leaving a permanent record with a customer.

Bad Customer Service – The Saga Continues….

The saga with our new bed continues. ( you can read the first part of the saga here ).

But to cut a long story short, our new bed arrived eventually with a mattress much smaller than the bed frame.

After contacting the company, I eventually got a reply from my email, which is transcribed here. This is word for word what I received, and I have only hidden the email addresses and names.

From: J***** M*******
Sent: 02 April 2009 10:49
To: ******
Subject: FW: Mattress size
Please see below the response from the supplier regarding the mattress size.

Kind Regards

J* M********

Customer care advisor

(if this e-mail is regarding your order, please respond to *********@************.**.** )

From: A*** H***** [mailto:A***.H*****@*****.**.**]
Sent: 02 April 2009 10:44
To: J****** P****; J***** M*******
Subject: RE: Mattress size

This mattress within manufacturing tolerance so is no fault with the mattress. The most likely cause for concern is the fact that the majority of bedframes are imperial in size and our mattresses are metric so will always come up small, plus bedframes are designed to have gaps all around the mattress so that you can tuck the bedding in.

I hope this information helps.



Are you as impressed as I was?

The mail should never have been forwarded to me. It was badly written, badly worded, and it admits that the mattress will always come up small. Incredible. Bad customer service in writing. A symptom that occurs when the job becomes full of tasks rather than thinking about the customer at the end of the email or at the end of the phone.

I called and asked to speak to a supervisor, and when I got through to him, he said that there wasn’t anything that they could do, the bed was within the allowable tolerances, the email shouldn’t have been sent to me.

And then he said something really interesting. He said he saw “customer services as the managing of customers expectations” and yes that may be part of the job, and a part which requires a huge degree of skill. But it is more than that.

His response was basically “tough!”

Most of us are looking at how we spend our money. Their response could be because they see their customers as buying from them in a one off purchase. To them, unhappy customers don’t have a life time value, neither do satisfied customers. But, there is a cost to this approach. If we are unhappy with a product or service we are likely to tell a lot of people, estimates vary, some up to 27 people.


Since writing this blog post, social media is playing a huge part in customer service. A customer could vent their displeasure on twitter or facebook, and before we know it it’s gone viral.  Some simple business writing skills could have helped prevent this situation from escalating.

If you’re buying a bed, give me a call, and I’ll tell you which national chain to avoid.

If you want to improve your customer service then call us on 0845 450 0988 and we can help. From developing customer service skills and attitudes ( face to face, in writing or by telephone ) to winning over angry customers.