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Its about the fix

When you are in business, you will make mistakes. You will mess things up. You will do things so boneheaded that you want to hide under a rock for a week (or maybe that’s just me). The point is, mistakes happen.

What’s critical to your business is how you fix the problem.

Today I got my order from my food delivery service. It was not at all what I was expecting. A number of critical items were reduced or missing. Apparently when I was placing my order I went well over the ‘points’ I’m allotted by the system. While I was on hold to fix the problem I reviewed the order placed and can see that there was definitely too much stuff.

What went wrong:

So the first problem was the original order. I suppose I should have paid more attention, but really, I don’t have the point system in front of me. I assumed that it was the job of the guy on the phone to pay attention to that and they’ve always done an excellent job in the past. So that’s their first mistake.

The real big mistake was, when the error was discovered, they did not contact me to ask me how I’d like my order adjusted to fix the differences, and by the way apologize for not paying attention. They just made some assumptions, all of which were completely wrong. This just sets up their customer service department for dealing with irate customers. Not a nice thing to do to your coworkers. This is the mistake that lingers and could encourage me to talk badly about their company for months.

What went right:

The delivery driver (who is a great guy by the way, always pleasant. Always someone I’m perfectly willing to have in my home) knew what I needed to do. Call the guy I placed the order with and find out what happened. He’d arrived early for my delivery and since he had the time, he didn’t give me any trouble when I insisted he wait until I got a resolution. He played with my cats while I was on hold. Teach your people who is responsible for handling problems.

I asked to be directed to ‘the guy’. When I got his voice mail I went back to the switchboard and said “I have a problem with my order, I need to talk to ‘the guy’ right away before the driver can go.” He was on another call, so Switchboard made the intelligent decision to find someone in customer service who could help me right away. Timely response cuts down on the time your customer has to think about exactly how upset they are.

Right away turned out to be Hannah, who was pleasant, cheerful, apologetic, and apparently shocked that I wasn’t screaming at her. (hmm. I see another post in my future.)Be pleasant and apologetic.

She had all the answers from “send the driver on and you and I’ll will work this out” to “lets look at your account” and “wow, we really messed this up”. So we worked out a fair exchange, and then she threw in some extra stuff as an apology. Know what you can and can’t do to resolve problems. Be proactive with ‘can’.

And then she didn’t rush off but asked me about quality and service and took the time to discuss things with me as long as I wanted. Take the time to add a positive human component to the experience.

Thank you very much Hannah at Town and Country customer service. You did your job excellently today.