Friday, 4 September 2009

Good service from a bad start

I'm sitting in a cafe in Carlisle writing this before I go to meet a client at 10.

My netbook battery was dead so I plugged it into a convenient socket in the cafe.

When the waitress came to take the order, she spotted the cable, and said, "We're not meant to plug things into the sockets".

Being spoken to as if I were a naughty primary school child did get my back up a bit, and I wasn't sure what the socket was there for if it wasn't to be used :-) but I unplugged the computer, explained I couldn't work any more because the battery was dead, and offered to pay for the electricity if she would let me use the socket.

She got a bit flustered and said she wouldn't know how much to charge and they weren't equipped for computer use - so the answer was no.

I decided I wouldn't come to this cafe again.

But after she'd heard that and spoken to her manager, back she came to say OK, I could use the socket and she apologised but said she'd not encountered this problem before.

Up went my hackles a bit higher, I don't like being called a problem! But she quickly backtracked and said "not a problem". By this time I was starting to feel a bit sorry for her, after all she had fixed it for me to use the socket.

And then the manager came over to apologise too and say it really was OK, the reason why the waitress had wanted me not to use the socket was because "we drive them really hard to save electricity", and there would be no charge.

So now I'm perfectly happy to come here again.

They made a mistake but they were big enough to put it right.

And that the manager came personally to explain and apologise is a big plus.

So when I leave here, they'll get a generous tip to help cover the cost of the electricity. One good turn deserves another.

1 comment:

  1. This sort of non-problem occurs all too often.

    The simple solution would have been to consult the manager without getting you involved and she would have never mentioned it to you.

    I was once sat in a pub and a man sitting alone called over one of the bar staff. He was eating a roast dinner on his own. He claimed, all too loudly to the member of staff that the potatoes had been fried rather than roasted as the menu described. The member of staff agreed and then argued with him about it. It was a large pub with about 25-35 people in it at the time and the member of staff simply carried on arguing raising her voice.

    The person I was with and I were completely outraged that the member of staff would escalate such a simple thing into something which publicly embarrassed herself and the company.

    Simple customer services, No the customer is not always right but make sure they think they are. And if you are in the wrong bow down gracefully and take the hit. I'm sure you will generate more revenue in any industry if you adopted this methodology.

    They say for every customer you lose directly you lose 10 more indirectly. In business this is a little different however in my scenario not only did she lose the customer she was arguing with but certainly myself and anyone I would have wished to take there in the future.

    In business if we upset a customer we should take it as an opportunity to put things right and go that extra mile so they are happier than if we had simply done what we were suppose too. Even better go that extra mile in the first place and predict and account for problems.


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