I Asked My Bank for a Potato: 3 irritating tales of companies that missed the customer service memo

customer service

In a world where businesses should be bending over backward to kiss the feet of their customers, thanks to Clayton Christensen’s Jobs to Be Done theory, I’ve stumbled upon three companies that seem to be sprinting triumphantly in the wrong direction. Their customer service—or the tragic lack thereof—has not only left me pulling my hair out but also has me betting on their swift demise given the experience-driven economies of today. Here is my personal hall of shame.

My bank: A Time Capsule of Inefficiency

Let’s kick things off with a bank that’s apparently gunning for the title of “World’s Most Bureaucratic Institution.” Their love affair with physical stamps makes me wonder if they’re secretly hoarding a stamp collection that rivals the Queen’s. Picture this: I’m trapped in a surreal scenario, needing a company stamp I don’t have. In a stroke of genius (or madness), I ask the teller if they have a potato—planning to DIY my way out of this mess.

The look of utter confusion on her face was priceless, a perfect snapshot of a system designed to serve the bank, not the customer. Meanwhile, my experience with a digital bank was akin to finding an oasis in a desert. I set up a joint account, linked a credit card, and high-fived my wife—all while stopped at a red light. The difference was like night and day.

customer service

My hardware store: Employee hide-and-seek championship

Next up, a hardware store where the staff seem to think they’re competing in the Olympic hide-and-seek team. Trying to get assistance is like embarking on a quest for the Holy Grail, but less rewarding and more infuriating. Their approach to customer service highlights a company culture that’s about as nurishing as a diet of cardboard. It’s clear the top brass missed the memo on fostering an environment where learning and customer engagement aren’t just encouraged but celebrated.

My courier: Playing hard to get

Rounding out this trifecta of terror is a courier service that’s turned package delivery into an extreme sport. Opting for premium delivery apparently means getting premium excuses to collect my parcels from some godforsaken depot. When I dared to question why my “same-day” package was MIA, I was met with a shrug and a “not my problem, sir.” This masterclass in customer disregard showcases a company culture where convenience (theirs, not yours) reigns supreme. There was no customer service to even rate them on.

Customer service vs. customer neglect

These tales of woe shine a spotlight on a glaring chasm between these companies’ operations and the true spirit of customer-centricity. It’s painfully clear they’re more invested in ticking boxes than in genuinely addressing their customers’ needs. As we delve deeper into an economy that idolizes customer satisfaction, where even A.I. is expected to be more humane,  sticking to these archaic practices isn’t just old-fashioned—it’s commercial harakiri.

My goal isn’t just to moan about my misadventures but to underscore the pivotal role leadership plays in cultivating a customer-first culture. Consider this a desperate call to businesses everywhere: Neglect the evolving demands of your customers at your own risk. Without a dramatic pivot towards genuine customer service, these companies are doomed to be the punchlines of future business case studies on how not to run a company. In the cutthroat arena of modern commerce, it’s leadership’s role to ensure that the companies they work for don’t retire with them. Would you agree?

customer service

Paris Thomas

Paris Thomas, CEO of Talent Hacks and Executive Advisor at Strategyzer, stands at the forefront of educational and business innovation. Paris' approach to leadership and strategic advising is deeply rooted in his commitment to overturning conventional norms, championing adaptive learning environments, and nurturing a culture of relentless innovation.