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Chris LoCurto

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August 10, 2011

That Changed The Way I Brag About You!

August 10, 2011 | By | 16 Comments">16 Comments

Recently, Ken Munday, Teresa Duke, and I were in California to speak to pastors about one of our upcoming events. (Side note: One of the coolest things about the trip was being able to speak in the church where President Ronald Reagan attended.)

While the pastor luncheons went really well, one meal didn’t. It’s when we ate at a fast food restaurant. I know. I know. What am I doing eating this type of food? Well, there are a couple in California I try to visit if I have a chance. I just can’t resist. One is a popular burger joint that always has the greatest customer service – until this visit.

We were in Bel Air and plugged this restaurant into our GPS to find the nearest one. I didn’t expect to locate one in that part of town, but there it was. At 2:30 p.m., the drive-through was slammed, so I went inside. I found the same great customer service I’ve always expected. I placed my order, and the cashier read it back to me in exactly the same way.

After a few minutes, they called my number and out the door I went. I was in a hurry since I had left my colleagues in the car in what might have been a potential tow-away zone. Shhhh. Because of my haste, I didn’t stop to check everything in the bag. I ran out the door, got in the car and left. Ken immediately noticed my burger was missing. My fries and drink were there, but sadly, no burger.

I quickly turned around and jumped in the drive-through line that was slightly shorter than before. In great customer service fashion, they had a team member outside going car to car taking orders to speed up the process. Again, great job! When he walked up to our car, I explained what had happened and asked if they could bring one out to me.

Here’s where I was surprised. He then asked for my receipt. Again, something I should have checked when I paid. Was my burger on it? Nope. But since I heard the cashier read the receipt off to me, I didn’t think about it. He radioed in, and they said that I would need to buy another burger – and go through the whole line to get it.

Now, I have absolutely no problem with their actions. I should have checked their work to make sure they did it right. The issue for me is I wouldn’t have handled it that way, nor would my team. We would have quickly assessed the situation and brought a free burger out to the car for the customer’s trouble. It’s not about losing the sale of a burger, it’s about keeping that customer coming back.

Culture is more than a bottom line. In fact, I believe culture creates a bottom line—or at least a bigger one. But without the customer, there is none. Will I stop going to that burger joint? No. But I guarantee I would be more excited to go in the future if they would have taken care of me this time.

Questions: If a customer of yours orders a gross of your widgets and they came up a few short, how would you respond? Would you charge them for the extra or would you just make it right? Have you given your team the authority to make it right or would they have to “radio” it in?

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  • http://gravatar.com/lgthaxton Louise Thaxton

    Chris – absolutely right on target! When there is a “challenge” with a closing – WHETHER IT IS OUR FAULT OR NOT – I want to do something extra for our clients. Just a few weeks ago, because of something the appraiser missed, the closing was delayed for 2 hours. For 2 hours, my clients SAT – waiting to close – in the waiting area of the title company. It was not our fault – nor was anyone really “blaming” us – but they were obviously UNHAPPY with the entire deal.

    I walked over to the closing office – talked with the client – and gave them an unexpected “gift” – they were all smiles. They just wanted someone to acknowledge their pain. That’s our culture. We want people to leave happy, content and satisfied!

    It’s more than the bottom line – much more.

  • http://moneyiscenteverything.wordpress.com moneyiscenteverything

    I’m sure I can guess where you ate. I hope you had the double-double!

  • http://ginasmom.wordpress.com ginasmom

    “Have you given your team the authority to make it right or would they have to “radio” it in?”

    it’s one of the best ways i can think of empowering employees, companies that don’t do that are missing a great opportunity (competitive advantage), Great post Chris.!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Thanks!!

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric Speir

    I’m with you on this one. It seems that whoever was managing this location was too busy thinking about being right. I teach people all the time that you can be right at the wrong time and you will be wrong! This is a good example of it!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Thanks Eric!

  • chris

    I know you went inside, but a fast food and drive through story.

    I’ve always hated drive through windows at fast food places. I can always count on the order being hosed. When you go inside, you don’t feel the need to move ahead so the next person can get their order and you have the luxury of checking yours before walking out the door.

    My ex-wife worked for Wendy’s corporate. She and I had that converstation about hosed drive through orders many times. Especially when I refused to use the drive through and went inside to place our orders.

    One day she came home with the internal company news letter. It always contained an article on customer service or other thoughts from Dave Thomas. Seems Mr. Thomas and Jim Near (president of Wendy’s at the time) went to a Wendy’s on one of their visit the franchises tours and went through the drive through. Sure enough, when they pulled away and they dug into the bag to begin eating, they found their order was hosed as they didn’t get what they requested. To make matters worse, the person working the window recognized Dave from the tv commercials.

    When the Senior Chairman and President have their orders messed up……….

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      WOW!! That’s just ridiculous!!!

  • http://www.cabinart.net Jana Botkin

    P.S. You were exceedingly kind to not tell the world who they are – or maybe you didn’t want to give them any free publicity??

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      hahaha…yeah, I don’t want to run down the whole company because of one mistake.

  • http://www.cabinart.net Jana Botkin

    It is so degrading to a customer to have one’s integrity questioned. That burger place messed up – they had no idea who they were dealing with!

    Back when assorted packages of notecards were my biggest seller, a woman wrote me a letter stating that one of the cards in her package of 10 was missing. I immediately wrote her an apology, sent her the missing card and I think I sent her a new pack too. There is no anonymity where I live, and those things mishandled will haunt a business forever.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      And that’s how you handle it! As someone who has recently received your gorgeous cards, I would want all 10 as well!! :-)

  • Colin

    In college, I also worked part time, which was more like full time. But for a retailer, now out of
    business called, Ames Department Stores. I had an incredible store manager who put a lot of faith in me as a college kid and I had a lot of leadership roles at the young age of 20. I came acrossed situations like this in working the service desk and I was given the freedom to make managerial decisions. When things like this happened we would make it right and get them on their way so their experience was a good one. On the backend it made more work for us in regards to taking that item out of the system so counts were accurate. However, the end result was worth it. More than once an older lady would walk up to me and brag on me to customers around her. It became more than a shopping experience, but almost “community like”.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      And I bet they always came back and spent more money with you!!