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Customer Service: Avoiding the Obvious

Customer Service: Avoiding the Obvious

Despite being so obvious why do businesses neglect customer service? This afternoon, for lunch, I went to a restaurant to pick up my “to-go” order. At the restaurant, the person across the counter took my payment and handed me a plastic bag full of food. I took the food home and sat down to eat. As soon as I unknotted the plastic bag I was shocked to find the food I got was not what I had ordered. I’ll owe up to my responsibility in that I should have checked the contents before leaving the restaurant. But the food was packed in a plastic bag and knotted pretty tightly. Since the restaurant was really loud and busy, and because I was in a hurry, I asked the person if my order was right? He nodded approvingly.

When I went back to the restaurant the employee who helped knew exactly why I was back. He told me that my order got mixed up with another customers' order, so I got the wrong bag. The employee told me that my food would be ready in a few minutes. And sure enough it was. And this time around, the order was correct. I took the food and proceeded home with a clear understanding that I would never come back to this restaurant.

Mistakes happen during the busy hours in a restaurant setting. The focus of the staff is to get people in-and-out as quickly as possible. That said, during this whole exercise the employee at the restaurant didn’t apologize for my inconvenience. Despite my hinting to him about my lost time and the additional cost of the drive – an extra 10 miles, back and forth - to get the right food, he stood there stone faced, like he could care less.

Good customer service should flow in a top-down manner, by that I mean, an owner of a small business or the management at a large company should a) create a framework of policies and procedures that provide clear direction to the employees on the do’s and don’ts of customer service and b) most importantly, make sure the above stated policies and procedures are ingrained into its employees and are practiced by all employees all day and every day. No exceptions.

Sure, there will be growing pains at the beginning, but with the passage of time and a razor sharp focus by management to make it happen, employees will embrace the idea of customer service. In the above example, if the owner or the management of the restaurant had empowered their employee(s) to fix a customer service problem when it arose, the employee would have apologized to me and would have offered me a free appetizer; dessert; or even better offered a coupon for future use. A small gesture like that would not only have alleviated my inconvenience but it would have given me incentive to go back to the restaurant, to use the coupon.   

Image Source: cartoonstock.com



Last Updated: 2017-10-26 19:23:51

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