When you have a bad customer experience, how many chances do you give?

For me, it depends partially on demand and price. I drink a lot of Starbucks lattes, and the Terwillegar location closest to my house has notoriously bad service, but I keep HOPING it will get better, so I occasionally give it another chance to prove to me why I shouldn’t drive further to Century Park to get stellar service. The price is low enough, the location convenient enough and I buy them often enough to give a few chances.

But what about a higher ticket item that you purchase less frequently? If you need to buy a good quality suit or a killer pair of shoes and come across a bad salesperson at a store, what would it take you to go back? Would it depend on the store’s selection? A great sale? Would it take a few years? What about a recommendation from a friend to give it another try?

Finally, what about those significant purchases that happen a few times in your life? If you get initial bad service, there’s almost no reason to ever go back, right?

At the beginning of the year, I started looking for a quality dining room table that would last multiple decades. After much fruitless searching, I had a good experience with a saleslady at Urbane by Cottswood. She then came to my house to take measurements and see the space… and then I never heard from her again.

That’s bad service – I should write her and the store off, right? Well I didn’t. I thought Cottswood should be given a second chance despite leaving me hanging for months.

So I called back to find out that the saleslady (and her files) was no longer part of the organization. The staff seemed embarrassed by my poor experience, were apologetic and the manager herself came back out to my house to re-measure and re-discuss what I was looking for. A few days later she sent a proposed table and layout, and because it all looked good, I asked for a price.

She sent me the price and noted that it was on sale.

Now dear readers, does it seem unreasonable that after several months of my files being lost that they may have perhaps offered me a few percentage points off? All I expected was a gesture – something to acknowledge that my customer experience had not been up to snuff.

I wrote back and basically said as much – but the response came back with no gesture – I would get the same price as someone who came off the street who hadn’t given the company a second chance after receiving poor service.

So tell me, am I out of line here? Would you expect a company who’s mission is to “exceed customer’s [sic] expectations thereby cultivating long term relationships” to give a little when their acknowledged internal issues caused bad customer service?

I would. And so I’m starting my search for a dining room table over again.