Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

More little things that make a difference

Posted by Becky Carroll on September 6, 2007

coffee.jpg It is so important to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers.  How do they feel when something doesn’t go as planned?  What can we do to make it better?

I have seen two different occurrences of random acts of kindness by retail employees recently.  Both were in the food business: Starbucks and Baskin-Robbins.  They both addressed recovery from food spills. 

Good Stories

At my local Baskin-Robbins, a little girl took one lick of her ice cream cone, and it fell on the floor (note to parents: getting ice cream put into a cup, with a cone on top, helps prevent this!).  The mom asked the gal behind the counter for a new cone, which she gave the little girl at no charge.

At one of my local Starbucks, a woman had been doing some work on her laptop at the nice workstation set-up at the store.  It consists of a long table with a power-strip set on top at one end.  As she reached across to unplug her laptop, the woman spilled all of her coffee onto the table!  (Fortunately, the laptop itself was already put away.)  A Starbucks employee came over with a towel to help her mop up and offered her a new cup of coffee, on the house.  Embarassed but pleased, the woman accepted the offer.

Are the Little Things Enough?

I like the Starbucks story better.  Why?  The employee proactively offered the replacement food.  Although the Baskin-Robbins employee did the right thing, I can’t imagine someone turning down a little girl who dropped her ice cream if the mom asked for a new one.  Kudos to both stores for hiring the right kind of employees – those that are customer focused.

It takes more than these random acts of good customer service to become a customer-focused company.  Customer service needs to be proactively planned, with contingencies for issues and empowerment to employees to make it right.  This kind of “customer strategy” is just as, if not more powerful than, any marketing or product strategy your company may already have in place.

A Sad Story 

To see an example of an employee/company who got it wrong, see Peter Kim’s story of his recent cable company interaction.  Upselling when there is a problem is a no-no!  See the comments on his post for my take on how they could have done a better job.

Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is one step towards crafting an effective customer experience.  The coordination of marketing, customer service, and sales into one cohesive experience is where the fun, and the hard work, begins!

(Photo: alxm)

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One Response to “More little things that make a difference”

  1. Hi Becky, Great Post and I couldn’t agree more. “Sweating the Small Stuff” as I have discussed on NextUp, can be the deciding factor for a customer choosing who they will do business with next time. And as for upselling on a problem call, I recently experience that when trying to get my new iPhone to work at my house. I called Apple first because I thought it was a hardware problem. The first question was not “How can I help you”, but rather, “Would you like to buy the extended warranty”. Amazing, but true.

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