Virgin Trains: Poor Humor and Customer Service

Virgin Trains

How not to handle customer service via Twitter – Virgin Trains

How NOT to handle customer service complaints…this one hot off the press from my friends in London.

With “honey,” “love,” “sweetie”….and other patronizing ‘there, there’ comments.

Brands need to get that it diminishes a woman’s legitimate issues.

The 1950s called and even it doesn’t want ‘old timey’ sexist comments back.

What made this worse was that the service person that responded thought he/she was being funny.

Humor works WHEN someone feels acknowledged first. By responding this way to a complaint rather than addressing it first, it further diminished her experience. It’s glib. And she’s not having it!

I don’t blame her. Don’t talk to women in a demeaning way. Ever.

Once you build trust and handle a complaint by saying “I hear you and we’ll fix it” – maybe then you’ll have trust and credibility to respond in a funny way.

Humor has its place – hey, it’s part of my background. That takes context and trust and timing. Solve the issue first, build rapport and trust and then – maybe then – you’ve got credibility.

Here is where ‘yes and’ (the central principle of improv) and how it applies to service matters. Here is what should have happened: “Emily, YES, we hear you. It should not happen. AND we want to make it right.” That’s how you do it.

What do you think?


Kathy Klotz-Guest is a story and creativity strategist, speaker and author. An improviser and comedian as well as an MBA, MA, Kathy brings interactivity, inspiration and innovation to events, talks, and workshops. Interested in having her speak at your company? Contact Kathy.

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