As Long As You Fix the Problem, It’s Probably Not a Problem.
Not long ago my youngest son and I were on a trip out of town. We went to dinner at a local restaurant, ballyhooed by a friend as “one of the best burgers in the city.” And he was right: the burger was great, the fries were fresh-cut and thoroughly cooked, and the atmosphere was fun.
But as you might have come to expect on ye olde guest services blog, there was trouble afoot.
The experience started off fine: we were seated almost immediately, the waiter brought us our menus, and doubled back in a minute or two to bring us our drinks (two waters, in case any Baptists are reading this). He asked if we were ready to order, and I said we needed another minute.
He gave us that minute.
And 29 or so more to go along with it.
In short, we were forgotten. We watched the waiter pass our table multiple times, take other orders, deliver other orders, and watched people leave who arrived after we did.
Because we were observing the situation with fascination, we almost wanted to see how long he could go without acknowledging us. But because we were wasting away to nothing, I finally got his attention and told him we were ready to get our burger on.
To our guy’s credit, he was incredibly apologetic. He registered an actual look of surprise that we were still waiting, and gave what I believed to be two sincere apologies as he took our order and hustled back to the kitchen.
And at this point, you’d expect a rush order, a quick burger delivery, and johnny-on-the-spot treatment, right?
Our meal took another 30 minutes to arrive, and it wasn’t delivered by our waiter. He never came back to us until we’d been finished eating for a while, and offered to bring our check, which took another ten minutes or so to finish that process.
Great burger. Nice guy. Terrible service.
In their phenomenal book The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath talk about how problems probably aren’t problems as long as you fix the problem. They say, “To maximize customer satisfaction…you don’t want to be perfect. You want to get two things wrong, have the customer bring those mistakes to your attention, and then hustle like mad to fix those problems.”
In short, I would have been more impressed if I’d gotten a “hustle like mad to fix it” than if nothing had ever gone wrong to begin with.
In your role, where have you gotten two things wrong? More importantly, how are you hustling like mad to fix it?