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Customer Service Apology Is Stronger With a Personal Touch

First Watch is a great restaurant that is open for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.  They have great service and wonderful food.  Every so often we order lunch “to go” for the office.  Last week we ordered twice. Both times, I had the unfortunate experience of the lunch order being wrong.

The first time I just accepted it.  The second time, just two days later, the same exact thing happened.  This was after the person taking the order on the phone repeated the order back to us, to insure (so we thought) that the order was placed properly.

So, we called to let them know.  We ended up talking to Wes Ackerman, the manager.  We just wanted to say that twice this week they got the order wrong.

So, how did Wes respond?  Exactly what we expected he would do.

First, he apologized.  He offered to replace the meal if we wanted to come back in, but we said that it would be too big of a hassle for us to go back and pick it up.  He asked for our address.  We assumed he might be sending us a gift card to make up for the two meals that were wrong.

Two hours later, Wes showed up at our offices, with an apology and a gift card.  He felt that this was the least he could do to make up for the two meals that were not prepared according to our order.

This was right on several counts.

First, on the phone Wes sincerely apologized.  He took responsibility and accountability for what happened, even though he didn’t take the order and wasn’t in the kitchen preparing the food.

Second, he offered the original solution, which was to replace the meal.  Because of the hassle of having to drive back to the restaurant, he offered a gift card to cover at least two meals similar to the ones I had ordered.  By the way, this was a great way to get me back in the restaurant.  How else could I use the gift cards?

So far, this is all standard operating procedure.  Wes was doing everything right.  But, he took it to another level.  He took a third step, which was adding the personal touch.

Wes showed up to our offices to personally apologize and deliver the gift card.

That third step is the difference maker.  He added the personal touch.  Now, not everyone has the luxury of driving just a few blocks away to personally apologize to a customer.  However, the personal touch could be in the form of a personal thank you note.  Or maybe a phone call to offer a sincere and empathetic apology.  Again, the key is that it is a personal touch, something that seems outside of the normal operating procedure.

Want to take an apology to a higher level?  Then find a way to add the personal touch.  The customer will appreciate it and most important, will have a renewed respect and confidence about you and your company.

Shep Hyken is a   customer service expert, professional  speaker and New York Times     bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com. For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

 

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3 Responses to Customer Service Apology Is Stronger With a Personal Touch

  1. James Munson says:

    As one of the support team members for a technology company this rings so true. The only way I know of to truly make a difference in every customer interaction is to make it as personal as possible. If the customer just feels like another number on a spreadsheet they will just treat your service like any other tool and toss it to the side as soon as something new and shiny comes along.

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