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, drop by drop.  I mentioned to the cashier (owner/manger?) that I couldn’t fill my cup and he indicated he would tend to it. 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 flavour 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; it was just a matter of swapping the empty one with the new 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.”

Yes, bad customer 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.  Replace the beverage box in less than 30 seconds and return to the cash, thank this customer(s) for waiting and resume 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 is sincerely apologize and offer the $2 drink for free. I would even suggest offering a coupon for a second free drink. The dollar amount here is inconsequential, it’s the fact that most people like to receive something free… a gift. However, note that this 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 an inordinate influx of calls/customers? Are you prepared?

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