Stupid John, The Customer Service Nightmare Maker

So there I was knee deep in mud, trying to get my SAAB away from the tree that it decided to visit into when I thought I better call a tow truck operator. Alex’s Towing was recommended by a bunch of people here in Elmsford, NY so I called the place and they sent someone out to separate the two love birds.

The next day when I called the company and said I would like them to take my SAAB to SAAB hospital in Manhattan and all I had was $150 in insurance towing, the employee, John, but I prefer “Stupid John”, answered with, “No I can’t do it for that, no way. 

“Ok”, I said, “I would like to keep the business local, can we make a deal”. Gruffly, he said, “No deal. That’s the price. Take it or leave it”.

I think I will leave it I thought. “Ok”, I said, “I will come and pay you the $80 this morning and make arrangements to have the car towed by another company”. 

“Hey” he said, “who told you $80, that ain’t the price”.  “Your employee who towed it”, I said. “He can’t tell you nuthin’. He’s an idiot and he’s not all there.” 

Nice, I thought. Who wouldn’t want to work for you? Heck, I’ll bet you have a lineup of people just waiting to work for you, JERK!

After making arrangements with my insurance company to have the SAAB towed by another operator I called John and told him I would meet him and pay him.

“OK, c’mon over” as he slammed the phone down. Of course I go to the yard and there is no John.  I call him and tell him I am at the yard and he says, “Well I am at the office”.  “Why didn’t you tell me that before?” I say.  “Whatever, you comin’ or not?”  “Oh I’ll be there”, I said.  

Of course when I get to the office he is on the phone, not even acknowledging me and ignoring me for about 5 minutes. When he finally gets off he says, “You here to pay for the SAAB”.

No I came to discuss Advanced Calculus with you, I thought. “Yes” I say. “Ok, says he, “$85 bucks ($5 more than his “idiot” quoted) and that’s cash only”.  

What no credit card or even check?  “Thanks for making it easy to do business with you”, I say.  His sneer, coupled with his tattoos made me feel that this was just a bad guy having a bad day and maybe I should just walk away.

Nah! Not my style.  

So I said I would meet him at the yard when my tow truck showed up in 15 minutes. 15 minutes later when my tow truck arrived, there was no John.  

Again I called him and he said he would be there in 10 minutes. 20 minutes later he showed up, jumped out of his car and went for his flat bed which he cranked up and conveniently parked in the entrance of the yard to make it difficult for my tow truck driver to get in.

When I finally got my car safely on the flat bed and out of the yard, I walked up to him, got real close to him and said, “I want to thank you for a wonderful customer experience and in fact I am going to tell as many people as I can about how wonderful this was”. 

In typical stupid John fashion, he shrugged, put on his sunglasses and drove away.

I will send this letter to the owner. Everyone says he is a decent guy, been around for 20 years and treats everyone fairly.  But he should know what a disservice this employee is doing to his business and much he is undermining 20 years of good will.  

What would you do if you got a letter like this from me about one of your employees?  Would you respond? Would you refund my money or would you just  ask John his side of the story, believe him and do nothing?

Seriously, what would you do?

I will keep you posted if I get a response 🙂

p.s.  Received two nice comments from Ken Paton on my blog about social marketing and from C.J. Fox about telling it like it is on birthday parties
About Fred Kaplowitz
Marketing is in my DNA. I love to solve problems and meet challenges head on and I have successfully produced results for hundreds of clients. I love what I do and love helping to make my clients more successful and happier. I am a husband and father, consultant, a coach, a teacher, a motivator, a copy- writer, and a speaker. I look forward to working with anyone searching for a proven methodology out of mediocrity. May I assist you in taking your business to the next level. Please call me now @ 516 359 4874 to review your business goals and strategies.

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