My friend and I were sitting down for coffee to catch up after all my recent adventures and we started talking about my bus trips and customer service. I had a really bad experience with Bolt Bus and the customer service made it worse. She countered my story with a bad experience she had but a good customer service experience so it led me to write this post.

I think you can make or break a customer service experience by how you respond to the complaint.

If you are in any business you have an opportunity to make someone’s experience awesome or not great. If someone has a not great or terrible experience you then have another opportunity to turn it around by the way you respond to the complaint. It’s a way to set yourself apart from the competition and to make an unpleasant experience into a memorable one. You can make up for the bad experience with a really good one or you can fail again and probably lose a customer or several. I mean, isn’t everyone on social media or blogging about their experiences. Wouldn’t you hate for your business to be talked about in a bad way and know that you had an opportunity to make it better and didn’t. Or maybe you really don’t care. That’s ok too.

Usually when a business has haters it means you have officially made it.

For Bolt Bus this was my first (and probably last) bus ride with them. There was no wifi, outlets that didn’t work, partying on the bus and a rude driver when these issues were pointed out. We were even running really late but no announcements were made to tell us this, you just had to figure it out for yourself. I understand that in a business, things don’t always go as planned and things can be broken but what I don’t get is rudeness and not owning your failure to deliver. I had to email Bolt Bus three times and tweet to them before getting anyone to respond to me. If it weren’t for tweeting I’m not sure they would have ever responded to my emails. When they did respond to my emails they quoted policies that basically stated everything¬†could go wrong and they weren’t responsible or able to refund fares. This is not what I asked for at all. I wanted someone to listen to me and understand how frustrating my experience was so I quoted back some of their own policies about partying on the bus and how those people should have been kicked off. Silence. No response. End of story.

I told this story to my friend and she told me how she didn’t really like them either. She didn’t think they were that friendly or comfortable as well. Apparently their wifi being out is a thing because she also had that experience. I guess you can’t ask much for a budget carrier except I didn’t have ANY issues when I rode Megabus which is also a budget carrier and a competitor of theirs. Concord was amazing as well. Both Megabus and Concord offered nicer experiences and they arrived to the destinations early (every time!). So, if you have a choice between these options I would suggest never choosing Bolt if you don’t have to. Cheap is cheap but as far as I’m concerned they are at the bottom of the barrel. If you can get the same cheap fares elsewhere then it’s really no competition at all. Go with what works or what’s recommended.

My friend told me the story of how she ordered food through a delivery service at one of her favorite restaurants. By the time she got the food it was not at an optimal temperature so she told them and they refunded all of her money. They seemed to care about the problem that was reported and didn’t want to lose a customer so they took care of her. They turned her bad experience into something she’ll probably be willing to try again.

I hope this helps you learn from bad and good customer service experiences. What will your business choose when faced with an angry or unhappy customer?

If you do anything in business never make vague promises. And listen to your customers. Sometimes that’s all they want is someone to empathize with them and understand how they must have felt. Literally put yourself in their shoes. What would make you happy if you were on the other side? What would you want to hear?