Sometimes it's just amazing to see the stupid decisions some companies make. Especially when these decisions kill sales and hurt thier very own business.

I called a national hotels' group reservation number to inquire about my Mastermind group meeting we are planning on holding at one of their properties next year.

After giving the rep the details, he told me his system was down, and asked me to hold.

About three MINUTES later he came back, apologized, and told me it was still down and that he couldn't give me any rates. He then asked me to call back in an hour. I found this quite amusing and replied, "Let me get this right. I'm calling you to possibly give you some business. You have a problem, but yet instead of checking on my request when your problem is fixed and then calling me back, you want me to call you, and then have to go through all of my information again. And still, there will be no guarantee your system will be up then. Do I understand that correctly?"

"Well, yeah...I don't have the ability to call out."

Again, almost laughing, "Well, someone there does. Find a way to call me."

The poor guy was getting embarrassed now. "I'm sorry, our software will not let us call out."

Would You Alienate a Customer for Ten Cents?

Here’s another stupid service story that is so unbelievable I had to share it with you:

I received an unrecognized call on my cell from an 800 number. I answered, and a recording said, “Please hold for a message from (name withheld) Home Services."

I knew that was the mortgage company for one of my properties so I held on. After waiting about three minutes, they disconnected the call.

Two hours later, same call, and again I waited. This time I was greeted by someone I could barely understand. I am not sure if it was just mumbling, poor English, a thick accent, or all of the above. The person advised me this was a collection call. I stopped him, since while I was waiting on hold I went online and confirmed the payment had been made on time. He informed me that the payment was .10 short and that I was subject to a $25 late fee.

That’s right, ten CENTS. On a payment that was, let’s just say over several thousand dollars.

I laughed, and tried to get him to rationally realize how absurd this entire scenario was. He didn’t understand. I asked for the supervisor, whom I had to explain the situation to all over again. My understanding of her spoken words was only slightly better than the first guy. She sort of understood my point, and that it would be crazy to charge me a late fee, also given the fact I had not been late before...when the call was disconnected again.

I’m waiting for my next statement to see if there’s a late charge.

Wow. Crazy. Do you have any policies or procedures that are driving customers away?

Author's Bio: 

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing "rejection." He presents public seminars and customizes programs for companies. Art has a number of books, CD's and other learning resources to help sales reps. See free articles and back issues of his weekly emailed sales tips at Email him at, or call (402)895-9399) Also go to Art's Telesales Blog where you can hear actual recordings of good and failed sales calls.