Know What Customers Expect? 5 Onion Headlines that Nail It!

by Jeannie Walters

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There’s a reason we all love The Onion, America’s finest parody news source. The Onion, with their satirical and sometimes silly headlines and articles, reflect back the world many of us are seeing.

In 2015, The Onion showcased customer service (and lack thereof) many times. These 5 headlines really tell the truth about what customers expect.

Terrifying Server Whole-Heartedly Cares About Guests’ Dining Experience

Dining experience
Photo via the ONION

That’s right, the mere idea of a restaurant server is a customer service superstar who provides refills and checks in regularly with diners is seen as someone who might be “unhinged.” Our expectations for service are so low, this is a truly terrifying experience!

Caller Enters Remote Backwaters Of 1-800 Automated Messaging System

call center
Photo via the ONION

Don’t hit 6 instead of 8 in those automated call menus! We might never hear from you again! We all know the pain and frustration of navigating the automated menus when calling in for service. This one seems almost too real to be funny.

Customer Who Declined Initial Offer Of Assistance From Floor Salesman Comes Crawling Back

customer assistance
Photo via the ONION

We’ve been there, too. We say we’re ok when a customer service rep offers to help proactively, but we later find we need the help offered! Timing is everything, and this headline sums up how it feels when we find ourselves at the mercy of the floor salesperson.

Customer’s Attempt To Complain To Manager Thwarted By Employee

customer complaint
Photo via the ONION

This article is one of my personal favorites. The way we get to know the employee, and his true motivations, it’s easy to understand why he wants to avoid any more negative feedback. But how often does this really happen to us? I’ve asked to speak to a manager and the phone call gets “dropped” upon transfer. My favorite line from this article is the quote from said employee: “So I was like, ‘Tough break, man’–you know, trying to sympathize with him. But that just totally pissed him off for some reason.”

The line about “trying to sympathize” reflects why teaching and training around process and rules doesn’t go very far without connecting to the why. Again, this one is so true, it’s scary.

Customer Service Operator Safely In Remote Location

I think we all feel for customer service reps who often don’t have the power, the information or the tools to actually solve any customer issues. But we also get angry. This headline sums up how the threats don’t lead to anything except making everyone involved feel worse.

[Tweet “”Put me on hold one more time…” We’ve been there.”]

While these headlines are often hilarious and provide some levity to our day, it’s a little sad they are so close the truth!

I’m sure we’ll get more headlines next year thanks to The Onion and to those organizations who continue to not get it. Here’s hoping we get a few real ones that prove these are indeed the exception and not the rule!

Image credit: carterse via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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