A few weeks ago, the Nevada Interpreters and Translators Association held one of its many workshops. Just like every time, we pre-ordered some bagels and coffee from Einstein Bros. Bagels. Now, we've ordered from Einsteins for many years -- both for professional and personal events. We already know that the nice folks at Einsteins aren't always the best at getting our orders right, but their ability to make things right is remarkable. Let us elaborate on how sometimes one can retain customers by fixing problems.
Last month, Judy and the guest speaker picked up the bagels and the coffee and headed to the event across town. Upon getting there, they realized that Einsteins had neglected to include the cream cheese, stranding us with less-than-attractive dry bagels and no time to go buy anything else. Judy called Einsteins to complain (just out of principle), and to her surprise, the store manager offered to call another nearby store to have them deliver the cream cheese to us. In addition, the manager said she'd throw in a second dozen bagels for free. Judy was very pleasantly surprised, and sure enough, in 30 minutes, a smiling and apologetic Einsteins employee had no trouble at all locating the (rather hard to find) downtown location and delivered everything to our hungry group of lingusts.
Now, the fact that they didn't include the cream cheese the first time around is less than ideal. However, they took ownership of the problem and solved it quickly and very professionally. And they also went above and beyond by giving us extra bagels. Plus, their product itself is really, really good.
Of course this little anecdote isn't about bagels, but about customer service. Have you either experienced a similar situation as a client? Or have you, as a vendor, made a mistake but fixed it quickly and well? We certainly have made mistakes in the past, but have retained those clients because we went out of our way to acknowledge the problem. We then apologized, fixed the problem quickly, sent a little gift or gave a discount, and moved on. Please do tell us about your experiences by leaving a comment.