Recently I served as guest host for a local talk show, Abdul in the Morning, on 1430 AM WXNT here in Indianapolis. I interviewed Bill Nicholls, Vice President of Ritz Charles Catering, one of my Customer Service Training clients and a highly respected company here in Central Indiana. We talked about customer service, how Ritz Charles manages it so well, and of course we took calls from listeners.

One turned out to be from my sister-in-law, though she disguised her name and I didn’t know it was she until later. She wanted to share her recent experience at her neighborhood BLOCKBUSTER store, where she goes regularly.

She had wanted to watch ROOTS in its entirety. The way it was set up, she decided to pick up one DVD at a time. After she’d watched the second DVD, she returned it and asked why it seemed a section had been skipped. The answer surprised her (and she rents DVD’s there quite often, with two young kids). She was told that episode II was on the back of the first DVD. Of course, she asked if she could have the first DVD back so she could “catch up” without paying, since no one at the store had told her to turn the DVD over and there was nothing on the jacket to that effect. The employee’s answer was, “NOT MY BAD!”

About this time, her son Jonathan approached with excitement over a “Rent one/ get one free” offer. He pointed to the display with the sign attached. The SAME employee said, “Sorry, that offer ended yesterday!” and told someone to remove the sign. No apology. No empathy. Nothing.

Remember. I’m on the air with her. I suggest she go right back and talk to the Store Manager. Her response: “HE IS THE STORE MANAGER!”

What do you do when you’ve gone to the highest person on site and gotten such an incredibly bad response to TWO problems you the customer did not create? I suggested she find an 800 number or go the the company’s website. We all know that’s a lot of trouble.

Did BLOCKBUSTER hire the wrong employee AND make him a manager? Is their training poor? Did they not empower him? Who knows? But if I were my sister-in-law, I’d find the next closest video store and bid “FAREWELL” to the neighborhood BLOCKBUSTER!