It seems so trivial but it really is the “little things” that annoy consumers. I was at a sandwich shop recently where I purchased a $7 roast beef sandwich. After paying the cashier, a sandwich preparer advised me that they were out of roast beef and asked if I would like another option. My secondary choice, which was available, was only $4. The cashier overheard me re-order and made no effort to refund the difference between the two items. I stood there thinking should I say something since “they only owe me $3?” The more I thought about the more annoyed I became. Finally I noted the price difference to the cashier, she swiftly said, “let me check on that with my manager.” As she returned, she suggested “I did not owe her anything more.” WAIT
Ok you probably have had something like this happen to you so you and can guess that it took a couple more tries and the manager actually had to present at the register before I received three crisp one dollar bills back in my wallet. The issue for me wasn’t the product unavailability or the money it was a lack of alertness and empowerment. Do you think the manager used this situation as a teachable moment for the front line worker? From a pure work efficiency perspective you would hope this would be an important opportunity to talk about anticipating customer needs, resolving service breakdowns swiftly, and making things as effortless as possible for customers. Are you having those conversations with your team members? An absence of “awakeness” to these issues has resulted in me changing the way I refer to what used to be my “favorite” to now what is my “former” sandwich shop.
Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.
Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli
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