More On Customer service.
For just about everything in life, I believe that you do not earn the right to complain about something unless you are willing to be a part of change or solution to the problem you are complaining about. Whether it is service from a certain store, or even something in a personal relationship. If you keep doing (or allowing to happen) the things you are complaining about, you are not part of the solution.
If I have crappy service at Wal-Mart (yes, there are people in some of the stores that actually provide customer service) I have a choice. I can shut up and just put up with it because I'm saving 40 bucks today. OR. I can just stop going there. Choose a different location or entirely different chain. Right?
If I get bad food at a restaraunt, I will likely not eat there again. But then, in a restaurant that I have been to a thousand times, I will not be upset from one bad order. I'll choose something else on the menu. I might mention it to my server. In a good restaurant this might even lead to a visit to the table from a manager, perhaps a discount on the bill.
But. Let's take McDonalds as an example. I've known many people who will make a special request on the burger, just to be sure they get something that hasn't been sitting under a heat lamp for two hours. So "hold the pickles" has nothing to do with tastes or allergies or anything, but if there is the evil pickle on the burger... what do you do?
a) pick the pickle off and let it go since you really didn't have a good reason?
b) take it to the counter and ask for a replacement?
c) freak out because their staff didn't pay attention for the ten thousandth time? Demand a manager?
Really, when it's not a big deal, a consumer should let it go. Maybe you have driven all the way home only to find you have a completely wrong burger, not just a pickle. Or something is missing. They should understand that the drive thru is meant to be a convenience, we do not want to turn around and drive all the way back to you to replace it. We probably don't have time for that, or we would have came in. It certainly depends on the problem.
Now as the employee, who receives that call, or greets that customer at the counter, take these steps
1) Listen to the customer... the whole story... Make sure you UNDERSTAND what part of it is making them upset.
2) Apologize. SINCERELY. If you don't feel bad that your staff messed up, you shouldn't be a manager. You CAN'T apologize sincerely if you have not listened to the entire problem. Someone with an allergic reaction needs a bit more of an apology... than say, someone who just got pickles. Someone with a missing meal or fries or whatever... deserves a different kind of apology.
3)This is not just "I'm sorry." Be a PARROT. For real. I will believe that you understand my problem if you say it back to me. I will know you are paying attention to MY concerns if you can do this. "oh, I'm sorry it didn't go well" means nothing to me. "I'm really sorry you got a Big Mac instead of your McChicken" See the difference?
4) Ask the customer how you can make it up. Don't just spit something out there... you are damaging yourself first. Yes, there are reasonable limits to what you can offer up, but you deal with that after. Say you suggest a full meal replacement, when all they wanted was a new burger, you just cost yourself money. So "I'm really sorry you got a Big Mac, I understand this is a long way out of your way so you don't want to just rush back here... What can we do to fix this for you?" This is now MY responsibility. You are providing a good service and asking for my feedback.
The last time I complained to McD's specifically, I didn't ask for anything. I didn't want anything replaced or refunded or free. I asked them to take some time to review the process in their drive-thru. I told them that I understand there are new employees and the like and mistakes happen... but please revisit the training and ask your employees to make sure they are actually checking the orders before they go out that window. I was pleased to see a manager working the window the next time I got there. HOWEVER, this manager gave me the wrong drink. And I don't mean diet coke instead of coke. I mean a fruitopia that should be bright red but was as clear as water. Kind of instantly obvious to me. Did you even look?
That visit was one of the few better experiences. I went inside (because I had checked MY order before leaving...) a worker saw me, called me to the front of the line. She started to make an excuse, then just apologized...agreed that it should have been noticed and gave me the right drink. Easy Peasy. I had no need to get super P.O.ed. She handed me the RED drink and said she would go check the machine. Done.
So, if you handle the issue right, you will save yourself from the abundance of super-cranky customers. And if you listen to what they have told you, you can improve the processes and prevent future mistakes. If you ignore the customer, you keep repeating the problem, and they get meaner and madder every time.
Customers do have a huge part to do with customer service. Those that want something for nothing do make it bad for the rest of us.
So consumers of the world... be part of change. Don't be complainers!
And Businesses? Don't treat all of your customers like they are the bad ones. Treat everyone like they are the first customer you ever had and they will keep coming back.