Recently, I was going into one of my favorite coffee shops to take care of my coffee fix and get a bite to eat. I walk in and get a smile and greet from the Barista. Everything is going well. I order my normal tall drink and my favorite bagel with cheese and roast beef (DELISH!). The Barista offers me a Grande. I decline. I am trying to be more conscious of what I am eating. Yea right! I’m eating a bagel with roast beef, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese……… not quite the breakfast of champions. Anyhow, my drink comes up and the Barista tells me he will bring my bagel to my table. Thanks.
I walk over to my table, power on my laptop, and connect to their wifi. Now I am up and running and ready to work. Two to three minutes later the Barista delivers my bagel sandwich to the table. As he sits it on the table, I notice that it is over cooked. The bagel was basically burnt on the outside. Now here is the “New To Me?” part. I knew right away that it was unsatisfactory; however, for some reason I felt like I couldn’t take it back. Why in the world would I feel this way? This is one of the cafe’s I frequently patronize. Some of the Baristas know me by my first name. I felt like I had to eat it or throw it out without saying anything to the staff. So I tried a bite of the sandwich. It was too hard and the roast beef was rubbery. The whole slice of roast beef came out of the sandwich because I couldn’t cut it with my teeth. That is it! I put it down on the plate and decided not to eat it. At the same time I decided to do my work and finish my coffee and leave without saying anything. After a few minutes I told myself that before I left I would tell the Barista and ask for a refund. Then I thought, man I’m hungry! I want to eat something. I can’t work well on an empty stomach. I have got to give them the opportunity to make this right. I am a regular customer here; therefore, I have an obligation to my relationship to this cafe to let them know about the situation and give them the opportunity to make things right. So I go over to the counter and tell the Barista that the sandwich is burnt and I would like a replacement. No problem he says. He will deliver it to my table.
Now here’s the lesson. I am a regular customer at this establishment. I have made a relationship with some of the employees by way of regular visits. If I am somewhat reluctant to bring this issue to the employees and give them the opportunity to satisfy me, what will happen when a new customer comes in and has a similar experience? Will they be upset and say nothing and never return? Will they ask for a refund and storm out? Will they eat the burnt sandwich and tell everyone they know never go there because the employees don’t know what they are doing?
At the end of the day, we must attempt to take care of our customers the first time we have the opportunity. Some customers won’t say a word and they will never return. Some customers will return with an idea of the service they will receive based on previous bad service. And then you have people who may work in the service industry and will give you a second opportunity to take care of them. You can never please all the customers all the time, but if you take the attitude that you are going to own the service or stand behind the goods 100%, you will take pride in what you do and you will therefore make a better product or give exceptional service because that is what you want to receive.