The customer is not always right – but in that customer service moment, they always believe they are right. So our job is not to argue the point with the customer but to offer solutions to the current problem. The customers will realize later that they may not have been right, and appreciate the way they were treated.

What is the Cost of Toast?

A customer walks in to a coffee shop and says, “I want two eggs over medium, toast and a cup of coffee.” The service replies, “Sure, what kind of toast would you like?”   The customer says, “White toast is fine…no, wait, I’ll have sourdough…no, no, make it wheat.”

Five minutes later when the server delivers the two eggs with wheat toast the customer says with a bit of an attitude, “I thought I asked for sourdough?”  The server has two choices here:

Little Brain Reaction: The server could  give the customer a play by play of exactly how he ordered the food to prove that it was not the server who made the mistake. This will make the customer feel guilty and uncomfortable. He will also not be content with what is he about to eat.  The server could also pile on by saying, “Fine, I’ll take it back and get you some sourdough.” Again the customer is left feeling poorly about the exchange.

Upon leaving the customer would feel awkward and begin to wonder if there is someplace else he could try for breakfast.  He does not want to go back to a place where he made a mistake and then had the server rehash his mistake just to prove him wrong.

Big Brain Response:   “My apologies, sir. Let me get you the sourdough right away, I must have heard that wrong.”  This would make the customer feel good, he gets to eat what he wants and what he feels he ordered. Upon leaving, the customer begins to feel good about the restaurant experience and is looking forward to his return. In the car driving away he rethinks the transaction and realizes the mistake that he made and remembers he ordered it wrong. He is even more appreciative for the way it was handled and resolves to go back sooner.

In both of these scenarios the restaurant put out the same amount of money for the extra order of toast (approximately 15 cents). But one experience leaves the customer wanting to come back and the other leaves him looking for a new place to dine.

The ultimate goal of  every customer encounter is to service them in a way that will get them back in the door.  Big Brain will help you get them back and Little Brain will make customers begin looking elsewhere.

In this economy Big Brain Customer Service wins.

© 2011 Kevin T. McCarney. All rights reserved.

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