OI on oops! The Case of the Missing ‘Sorry’

In ‘OI on oops!’ series we talk about real life customer service bloopers and how to avoid them. We start with my own experience that I had last week whilst ordering for a lunch delivery to my office…

“Recently I ordered for a delivery of a sandwich and an iced tea from an internationally renowned quick service restaurant chain’s outlet located in the shopping suburb in Mumbai. The order was delivered almost an hour later. The ice tea was tasteless – the mix was inadequate. I called the restaurant, informed them about the ice tea and asked them to deliver it again. Without any hesitation I was promised an ‘ immediate’ delivery of another glass of iced tea. So far, so good!

But, the delivery reached me after another hour – by which time I had already consumed the sandwich. If this wasn’t enough, the delivery boy asked for the earlier glass of iced tea back (the glass was made of styrofoam). When he was informed that the earlier glass had already been trashed with its contents poured in the sink, he insisted on getting the glass back and asked if I could remove it from the bin. On my refusal to submit to such indignity, he offered to take it out himself. I could not allow him to do that either. I spoke to the restaurant manager and without sounding apologetic he says, “Let my delivery boy remove it from the bin.” This was utterly disgusting. You deliver a product of bad quality late, you further deliver the replacement product late again and then you expect the customer to give back the styrofoam glass as proof??!! Having lost my patience, I asked the delivery boy to leave… my mouth was already bitter with the taste of a bad experience with this brand and I know the next time I think of home delivery, I will not think of this brand.”

Let’s start by listing the negative interactions that I had with this internationally ‘ renowned’ quick service restaurant chain.

1. The delivery was an hour late.
2. The second delivery that was supposed to be their apologetic gesture was an hour late too.
3. They definitely didn’t trust the customer and wanted proof.
4. Asking a customer to go through the trash can or even offering to do so themselves is beyond-thinking-doubt a wrong step.

To show that you care about your customer’s experience means delivering on time, trusting your customer, apologizing for the mistake and showing that you care enough to delight your customer inspite of the mistake made.

Sending the second iced tea with an add-on item from their range of side orders like a cookie or a packet of chips would have resolved the issue. It would not only have re-affirmed their apology but it would surely have increased the prospects of turning the irate customer into a loyalist. An opportunity to gain a customer who advocates you over your competition should never be missed. All it required from the brand was to say ‘Sorry’ and mean it with their actions!

A very apt quote comes to mind - Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong. – Donald Porter, V.P. British Airways