I walked into this 7-11 to purchase a mocha iced coffee. The self-serve dispenser was near-empty and I could only fill the cup one quarter of capacity.  I mentioned the state of the dispenser to the cashier (owner/manager?) and that I couldn’t fill the cup. Customers kept coming, the cashier served them at the counter and I was kept waiting. I made eye contact with him several times to express that I was still waiting for the machine to be refilled. After 15 minutes of patiently waiting, I resigned to fill the rest of my cup with the vanilla-flavoured coffee and be done with it.

I’ve seen someone reload such a machine before and it literally takes less than 30 seconds. The clerk had fetched the replacement box so it was just a matter of swapping the empty one.

Upon paying, the cashier simply said “Sorry, it is very busy”.

I then noticed a stock boy in an aisle. I said in a very friendly manner “Could this other person not have helped?” to which he responded. “Oh no.”

Bad cstomer service.

Here’s what good customer service could have looked like:

The cashier could have politely asked a customer in line if he could excuse himself to quickly tend to a machine for an earlier customer who had been waiting quite some time.  He could then have promptly replaced the beverage box, returned to the cash, thanked this customer(s) for waiting and resumed serving them.

Now, assuming there was no possible way the cashier could have reloaded the machine at the time, the least he could have done was sincerely apologized and offered the $2 drink at no charge. I would even suggest offering a coupon for a second free drink. The dollar amount here is inconsequential.  it’s the fact that offering a “gift” can serve as a caring apology in an attempt to recover from a service failure.

However, note that this still would have been damage control, not damage prevention.

ACE Tip

Employers:

Is your staff trained on basic tasks, allowing them to relieve and support colleagues in busy times? For instance, during an inordinate influx of calls/customers? Are you prepared?

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