Caught in the Act: Turning Negative Into Positive

This is a “please read” love letter to every business out there, large and small, to owners and marketing managers, to communications directors and CEOs. This is customer service, this is HR and well trained employees, this is public relations and social media. This is good business.

Sh*@ Happens.
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Did I tell y’all the broken luggage story yet? (Nope.. blog idea captured but languishing in digital purgatory.) Anyhow..

Reader’s Digest Condensed Version: instead of proactively handling the situation, Carnival made us do all the work (which came out ok in the end), they missed the boat – PUN! – on turning a problem into customer service gold.

A couple weeks ago, I went to TomatoJam at South City Kitchen Vinings and our appetizers took too long. Which we barely noticed. Yes it was a long time but not crazy, we were sipping our wine and chatting, generally enjoying the evening.

The server apologized. The manager did. We never complained. Then gave us soups to tide us over until the apps were done. Then comped said apps. The manager kept up with us the rest of the night. As did the chef, to once again apologize for our wait.

All initiated by THEM with nary a prompt or complaint from us. Negative turned positive, done.

This is how a loyal brand advocate is born.

This is what gets them followed and liked.
This is why I always buy their promo deals.
Because of their generosity, we upped our order, spent more money.
Because of their commitment to service, I’ll not only return — I’ll recommend them to others.

Just a quick (yay! for once!) post to show I wasn’t so dumb after all as I’ve blogged before about the PR, social media, customer service connection.

It’s not the mistakes. Often it’s what you do NEXT, it’s what comes after the mistake that matters most.

Fixing the problem. Offering a solution; brownie points if you do so before being asked. Learning from the mistake, then applying that knowledge. Something we all gotta do when we find ourselves thinking more of the same will result in change, or trying new ways to make the same old failures. Got the bruises, the headaches, the ‘need wine now!” to show for that one myself. (In this case, the chef at SCKV talked about better scheduling around large party orders.)

Putting customer service first – from the front line all the way to the top of the executive food chain – is how a company can “cement a customer for life.” How a business handles mistakes is what can turn a deal breaker into difference maker.

Ever had a business or brand screw up the right way? Do Tell. 

Photo credit: So many memes, so much time wasted on the Internet picking one. :-)

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6 Responses to “Caught in the Act: Turning Negative Into Positive”

  1. Kellye Crane and I had a similar experience a few years ago. Our food was taking forever, but we were so busy talking that we realized at about the same time that the waitress came over and apologized — and told us our meal was on the house.

    As you said, [bleep] happens. It’s how your business responds that makes all the difference.

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    We’ve all been there. I’ve got one dry cleaner, never again while another… even though they’ve made mistakes, they’ve made them right so I stick with them. All the difference. Thanks.

    [Reply]

  2. Adrienne says:

    Hey Davina,

    You are SO right about this and because their service was so good and of course the meal, that’s what gets repeat customers. If you treat me poorly I’ll make a point of not coming back. Gosh, I can’t believe most businesses don’t get that yet.

    That wait staff and manager were spot on. Thanks for sharing your story with us and such a great example.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..Thankful Thursday: Evergreen, Facebook, Commenting, Marketing

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    There’s two parts to this Adrienne. One, they checked all the boxes for brand monitoring and good service, clearly that’s part of their company DNA; and two, they didn’t wait – they acted. That is the part so many miss: waiting to fix a problem is often when it’s too late. Thanks for stopping by.

    [Reply]

  3. Judy Gombita says:

    I’m trusting you tipped the wait staff person (generously) on the no-longer-on-the-bill appetizers….
    Judy Gombita recently posted..Exposing PR’s weaknesses

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    We tipped well on the whole thing, what the check would have been. And are looking forward to going back again. :-)

    [Reply]

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