This is a story of selling soup and what it told me about how much the management care about their customers. In case you are wondering, the impression I was left with isn’t good. My wife and I visited a Wholefoods store this week to get some lunch. We were impressed with their selection of soups. Each looked wholesome and healthy, and there must have been over ten flavors to choose from. We each picked our soups and reached below the counter to grab a couple of paper take out pots. All they had were the extra large family size pots.
We asked one of the staff where we could find smaller pots. They replied that due to supply chain issues from COVID, these were the only size available. End of conversation. At this point we could have chosen something else, but the soup looked so good that we decided to share a pot. Even then we only half filled it. I asked if we would get charged for the amount we used? No, we would get charged for the full pot.
At the checkout, we told the cashier the pot was half full and she reached down, pulled out a small sized pot and swiped it against the bar code reader. We got charged for the small size. Problem solved and we enjoyed our soup. As we enjoyed our soup, we reflected on our purchase experience. It told us so much about the culture in the store.
How to Show You Don’t Care
- When confronted with an issue, find an excuse to explain it away.
- Don’t take responsibility to fix it, after all, it wasn’t our fault. (It was COVID).
- Don’t highlight the issue to customers with a notice, do your best to cover it up. (They filled the shelves holding the pots with the largest size ones).
- Don’t communicate with the staff to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Carry on as if nothing is wrong. (By only offering extra large pots, I assume they would throw away most of the soup at the end of the day).
What would a manager and their team who truly cared about service do? Here are three simple things that come to mind to show you care. I am sure there are many more.
How to Turn an Issue Into a Positive Outcome
- Change the price of the extra large soup container to be the same as a small regular size pot. Yes, they lose some money, but not as much as throwing away most of the soup. More importantly they gain customer goodwill.
- Put up a sign explaining the issue and the special lower price.
- Bonus – ask one of the team members to jump in their car and visit the other Wholefoods stores in the city to pick up some regular sized pots.
Things will always go wrong, that is inevitable. What matters most is how you manage them. Each one is an opportunity to show the customer you are committed to provide good service, come what may.
What do you do when things go wrong? Look for excuses or take responsibility to find a solution?