A Gift Card, Raw Fish, And A Great Lesson

How do you handle mistakes in your business?Every Thursday night is “Date Night” for Mike and I.

It is a night to relax, no cooking, no cleaning, just spending time together.

We use our iPhones to select random restaurants, and spend just a few hours “unplugged” from work.

I had been presented with a Gift Card  few weeks ago at a Speaking Engagement, so we chose to go there for dinner to unwind.

I chose a seafood dish and Mike chose a “mixed grill.”

When our plates arrived I cut into mine… and my fish was raw.

Not “undercooked” – RAW.

I motioned to the waitress and showed her just how raw my fish was.

She was very apologetic (and a little grossed out) and said she would get me a new one “right away.”

Well, cooking fish is no “quick” task, so Mike was completely finished with his meal by the time I received my new one.  (I insisted he go ahead and eat – no sense in letting his get cold while mine cooked.) 

While we waited the Manager came by, overly apologetic and offering us everything under the sun – from cocktails to salad bars to appetizers.  The waitress also stopped by a few times to check on us, and see if there was anything she could do for us while we waited.

Once my meal was ready both the Manager and Waitress served me, and asked for me to cut into it to make sure it was satisfactory before they walked away.

Of course it was perfect – honestly, probably the best that meal has ever tasted – and I thanked them as they continued to apologize and let us know that they would be comping the meal off the ticket.   Since Mike had already finished and now had to wait on me to eat, they brought him a dessert to enjoy as well.

Until the moment we left they took care of us, apologizing almost to the point of annoying  😉  They had removed my meal, salad and dessert off of the bill, leaving only Mike’s meal to be paid.

The amount they removed from our check was over $25… which is the exact amount I left for the TIP.

Those two ladies went over and above to take care of me, after a very simple mistake – WHICH neither of them had any part in making.  My reward was a tip greater even than the final bill that was owed.

How do you handle mistakes in your business?

Do you “avoid the phone” and let upset callers go to voicemail?

Do you respond via email, so you can avoid the conflict?

Do you blame others – corporate, shipping, manufacturers?

Or do you go over and above to right the situation, even if it means you *may* lose out in the end?

One of my best Consultants of all time came to me first as an unhappy customer.

She had ordered from another Consultant in my town who would not answer her calls, would not return emails, blocked her from MySpace – you name it, the Consultant was avoiding the conflict.

I worked with the Customer, worked with my Corporate Office, paid out of my own pocket to right the wrong, and told her I would “take care of her any time she ever needed anything.”

Within 6 months she was a Leader on my team making me ten times more money than what I had paid out to right the other Consultant’s mistake.

I am also happy to say she is still one of my very best friends.

An upset customer is a remarkable opportunity for you to show your fantastic Customer Service skills.

By “making it right” and doing what is right by the customer – EVEN if you have to spend some money in order to do so – can come back to reward you ten fold.

Tonight I was reminded of just how true this really is.

If you have an unhappy customer – make it right.

Call and ask her HOW you can make it right.

Be apologetic – even if the mistake was not your own – and be willing to do what is needed to make your CUSTOMER happy.

Show her that you have the integrity and the commitment to your business to run it ethically and professionally.

It WILL come back in your favor.

How do you handle mistakes in your business?