I went to Starbucks one afternoon last week. I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella Panini. Yes, it’s an odd combination, but I like the two. The friendly voice over the drive-thru speaker said, “I’m sorry. We’re out of the Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella Panini sandwich. I can give you any one of our breakfast sandwiches on us though.”
WOW. Without even a second of hesitation, the Starbucks employee made things right by not only offering a substitute sandwich, but by giving me that sandwich for free. This immediate offering ensured that I, the customer, didn’t have time to feel upset or disappointed. The fix was offered immediately and resulted in my surprise and delight.
Are your employees equipped to fix problems this quickly? When I’m designing a better customer experience for my clients, one of the things I insist on is empowerment of the front line. The front line has to be empowered with the solutions, dollar amount, and total freedom to take care of customer problems on the spot.
Empower your frontline to be able take care of problems on the spot. When you do, you’ll surprise and delight customers and you’ll keep customers from even thinking about going to the competition (or spreading negative word of mouth advertising, tweeting, blogging, etc.).