Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Customer Service Matters

Two weeks ago, I ordered a decorated cookie from a local business for my son's class birthday party. I wanted to pick it up first thing in the morning, but the person who took the order said that wouldn't be enough time to get it decorated. I got permission to go during my lunch hour and scheduled the pick up for 12:15. If I left at noon, I could get there at 12:15 and be back to school by 12:30 - just enough time.

On the drive there, I started fretting. What would I do if they spelled the kids names wrong? Nothing is worse for making a student feel special than getting his or her name wrong! But all that fretting was for nothing.

The cookie wasn't even done when I got there.

I was furious! I was on a schedule. I gave them all the extra time they asked for. When a customer says they will be there at a certain time, the product should be ready - it's like a contract. I realized on the way there that I had to run home, so I said I would do that and come back. I grumbled the whole way there. "Not done?! What do you mean it's not done?! I have KIDS waiting for this - counting on this! I have to get back for book fair - I don't have the flexibility to come back later! The party is at 2 and it's almost 12:30! If I have disappointed kids instead of a cookie, other people are going to hear about this business that 'failed' me."

By the time I got back to the shop, I was determined to get some sort of discount for their failure to provide my order on time. I had even rehearsed what I was going to say.

What I didn't plan for was the baker offering to deliver the cookie personally to the school.

I was floored! All my demands for a discount and my indignation went right out of my head. I paid the full price for my cookie, left the address of the school, and said a prayer that it would show up in time for the party. Thankfully, my afternoon was busy the second I got back to school so I had no time to fret about what would happen if 2 pm came and there was no cookie.

At 1:30, my cookie arrived - along with a half dozen cookies for my trouble. Instead of ranting about the business' failure, I was raving to everyone I saw about the baker (not the owner of the business) who delivered it personally when it wasn't done at the appointed time.

This woman redeemed a potential business disaster by taking responsibility and offering to make it right - and she delivered on her promise (literally).

Customer service matters. It has the power to change a day and change an attitude.

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