When it’s wrong, is simply putting it right enough?.

A few weeks ago I had an unpleasant experience at a cafe.  When my coffee arrived, there was a ‘black blob’ floating on top of it. It looked very much as if a coffee bean had escaped the grinder and so I fished it out only to discover that it was in fact… a bluebottle fly. After I had recovered my poise I reported this to the owner who was profusely apologetic and replaced my coffee in seconds.

When I went to pay for my coffee, however, and somewhat to my surprise, the owner happily took my money and charged me in full for the coffee.

She had the opportunity of turning a bad customer experience into a good one simply by dismissing out of hand any suggestion that I pay for the coffee. Instead, here I am blogging about the experience with nothing but a negative memory associated with the coffee shop and a lack of a desire to go back there.

So, if you do get it wrong, focus on how you can put a big smile on your customer’s face by going a little further to put it right. For the coffee shop owner, the cost of providing my coffee for free would have been pennies compared to the loss of business. I won’t be beating a path to go back there again.

The moral of this story?

Mistakes happen of course, but as business owners we should make sure that if something does go wrong, we do more than simply put it right.

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  1. Helen Haigh says:

    Hi Dee

    Unbelievable! I am amazed at the lack of customer service knowledge that is instilled in some customer facing staff.
    As you suggest, this was a VERY easy win to at least try and make you feel better about your experience and they lost out.
    Thanks for sharing your story

  2. Dee says:

    Yeah, I can’t believe you were charged for the coffee. That was just poorly handled all round. I would have given you the coffee free PLUS a coupon for another free coffee next time you came in.