Customer service might be making a comeback! Okay, maybe I’m being optimistic, but I am excited to report on a recent experience. Ordinarily when a business drops the ball, we’re not really surprised any more, and it appears to be the general sentiment with American consumers, especially in certain industries. Being the coach I am, I find it irresistible to rank and rate my experiences (secretly observing things, of course) when I’m out spending money: let’s face it, if it’s messed up, it’s an opportunity for me to approach them later on with help. Customer service is the “new marketing“, and knowing that, businesses have a unique opportunity to “right the wrongs” and still come away with a happy customer. In this situation, you might be as surprised as I was how well it goes from bad to good, really good.
Using Your Noodle
The company? Noodles & Company, in Broomfield, Colorado, which by the way has an awesome website. One evening, my family was running from one hockey rink to the next, so Noodles & Company got the vote for our on-the-go dining experience. With only one customer ahead of us, we figured it would be a quick pit stop – definitely not the case. We gave our order and after 20 minutes of waiting, I checked in to see why there was such a delay. The clan of Noodles folk were gathered in a circle, yapping about nothing related to work. “Uh, hi, any idea when we can expect our food?”, I asked. “Ohhhh, we’re out of penne pasta, so we need to make this one dish with another kind of noodle. Which one would you like?” Imagine my delight.
Several things went wrong here, but the most important was the lack of communication with the customer. Here are some ways to get it back on track and possibly save the customer:
- Take the heat for the oversight or error and move quickly to get things right.
- When you are out of something required for an order, let the customer know immediately, so there is as little delay as possible.
- Be proactive; it is YOUR responsibility to contact the customer about something you can’t fulfill, not the other way round.
- If you don’t know the customer’s name, ask for it, and then be sincere in your apology and ask them to please give you another chance to keep their business.
- Don’t just offer, but give your customer something of value (coupons and discounts suck!) that they will immediately appreciate or even be able to use on the spot.
How did Noodles keep me? While finishing up the preparation of our order, a manager came out, took full responsibility for the problem, apologized profusely, then presented me with a $25.00 gift card, nearly the price of my entire order. I didn’t use it right then; I decided to use it the next time I stop in their place.
Do you have a similar situation to share, where a bad experience turned good and you came out feeling like an appreciated customer? Please, share it!