How to upset a customer

Melting ice cream by child's feet

What do you think is a best way to disappoint a customer? I’m sure you can come up with a big list, but right there at the top is promising something and not delivering. I arrived at the airport this morning nice and early because I knew they had free Wifi here, fired up my laptop … and no Wifi. It wasn’t all bad though, because when I tried 30 mins later the network was there, so it could well have been undergoing maintenance, but it did set me thinking all about promises and expectations. In the meantime, FlyBe announced that the earlier Gatwick flight had been delayed because of “technical issues” and that the flight to Birmingham and the flight I was on were delayed because of an “aircraft change”. Now don’t get me wrong, I do expect operational problems to creep in from time to time, but delaying three flights (out of the three on the board with that airline) is shocking!

Anyway, way to my Wifi incident. The reason I was upset was because something was promised to me (by way of a hanging advert and prior experience) and was not delivered. If there had been no prior expectation, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it. It’s like like Wifi is so ubiquitous that you expect to find it everywhere (yet); so spending an hour waiting in a location without Wifi wouldn’t have been a problem for me. However, the expectation that something was supposed to be there and wasn’t was a totally different ball game.

I expect some industries are also harder to deal with than others. Airlines and trains in particular have a reputation for missing their schedules, but you can imagine that with all those moving parts, problem are bound to happen. I don’t envy companies who provide satellite internet services for example, as there are physical factors that can prevent proper delivery of their services. Wifi is another matter. Everyone with a wireless router at home will know that once it’s set up and running, it can run for months without needing any attention. That’s one reason why this morning was so “interesting”.

So, what really upsets you?

Motherboard of a computer


  1. What annoys me the most is how I’m being served in a lot of bars or pubs or cafes. Firtst, you wait for 10-20minutes ’til someone comes and gives you the menu, another 15 minutes until they come to take your order, then sometimes up to 45 minutes(!!!!) to get it done, 20 minutes of eating/drinking, again, 15 minutes of waiting for the check… boy, that sure gets on my nerves.

  2. Being ignored when I’m waiting to be served annoys me. Also, I like to be served by a human being with a personality and sense of humour, not a robot just going through the motions.

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