Let’s talk about service. And honesty. And making things right. Because if you’re going to work for yourself, you’d better damn know how to provide excellent service, be honest, and make things right for your customer. You’d want to be treated the same, right?
Here’s my case study of two well-known service chains - how one succeeds and how the other just fakes it.
Last Friday (yes, just a few days ago!) my son and I stopped in to our favorite coffee establishment (let’s not mention any names!) for a couple of specialty drinks they were offering for the Valentine holiday. It was late afternoon, and not a busy time. Our order was placed, and we went to the end of the counter to receive it.
And we waited. And waited. And another gentleman came up and waited. It didn’t appear as though anyone was making any beverages. What’s going on? Well, apparently the label printer was out, and a worker didn’t know how to replace the labels, thus causing a complete breakdown in production. (No labels = no orders printing = a very thirsty Andrea.)
It was a bit frustrating because she didn’t seem quite concerned that people were waiting. But another worker, possibly the one in charge for that shift, apologized, had her start making the drinks, and when the drinks were finished, handed them to us along with a $4 off anything card, along with more apologies.
I was satisfied. Your system broke down and caused me, your customer, several minutes of time and a bit of irritation. So you jumped in and quickly and easily said, “I’m sorry - have a freebie on us. It shouldn’t have happened.” Voila. We go away happy, and will definitely return - because hey, it’s our favorite place!
Let’s talk about another business. Last month my son wanted seafood for his birthday, so we went to a chain restaurant nearby that is supposed to be all about seafood in their shack. We were promptly seated - because it was a weeknight and the place was fairly empty.
The server came over and took our drink order. (We had to point out what the specials were to him.) We put in an appetizer order. We put in a dinner order. All standard, straight off the menu items. We received our drinks. Then we waited. And waited. And the manager and another girl came with our dinner order. - Hello? We ordered an appetizer. Oops. Didn’t get it. (And didn’t want it now since our meals were here.) And then my son’s dinner was wrong. (Which is amazing, since it’s a standard meal they are supposed to serve.) The manager came back and apologized. (Our server never did.) The manager then proceeds to give us a card for a free appetizer the next time we come in.
Now, I don’t expect freebies all the time, but when you really mess up, you definitely need to make sure you fix things so that the customer is happy. I can tell you - I was not happy. Because that “free” appetizer wasn’t free. In order to get it, we would have to come back, buy an adult meal, and then we could only pick an appetizer that was under a certain dollar value. (Which turned out to be soup - that’s it. A bowl of soup was all we could have gotten.)
This restaurant failed miserably in their customer service department (among several other areas). They are faking their apology. They’re not sincere. What makes me want to ever return? Nothing. They did absolutely nothing to ensure I would come back again.
Don’t do this to your customers and clients. Their problem is your problem, and you have to fix it the right way. Does that mean you have to give free product and service each time something bad happens. No. Most people just want their problem solved as quickly as possible. And with genuine care and concern. Don’t ever fake it. Don’t lie. Don’t give a cheap token to pacify them. SOLVE THE PROBLEM. CARE ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMER. It’s the only way they’ll continue to be your customer.
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.