Marks and Spencer's PR department must be in need of a nice cup if tea and a sit-down, after one dissatisfied customer's rant went viral on Facebook.
Irish woman Marie Byrne was outraged by what happened to her 78-year-old mother and 80-year-old father in one of the store's restaurants when they found their pot of tea too weak for their taste.
"They were told they must BUY a second pot, they asked for a supervisor who confirmed they must pay," she wrote on the Marks and Spencer Facebook page.
"SHAME ON YOU FOR SUCH disgusting customer service and treatment of the elderly. As regular customers of your stores be assured that my family, friends, and business associates will NOT be frequenting your stores again."
She adds: "She offered to pay for the extra tea bag but they told her she would have to pay 2.50 the price of another pot!"
Marks and Spencer has apologised. "This is one of our policies in our cafes, however we expect our staff to be flexible where possible," it says. It's suggested that Miss Byrne contact had affice with her complaint - but apparently hasn't offered any compensation.
And the damage has been done, with dozens of other Facebook users piling in with their own examples of poor customer service. For the cost of a teabag - well under a penny at wholesale rates - the company has been landed with an embarrassing and time-consuming PR nightmare.
"Insincere apology, and no sign of you asking her to message you and arrange for her parents to come have a lunch on you!! Small but sincere acts of apology go a lot further than that pathetic failure in customer service or public relations!" adds another.
Many companies these days are learning how to turn customer complaints to their advantage. We recently reported, for example, on how Morrisons' response to a complaint about wonky bread with 23,000 likes and almost 10,000 shares.
Even better was the burger restarant which received a complaint that its hand dryer was too near the toilet, causing a rather embarrassing accident. The restaurant offered the customer a new trainers and socks - and posted a photo of staff carrying umbrellas and plungers on their wy to perform 'rigorous tests'.
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