Marketing Moment: Make the Customer Think They Are Right

My friend recently told me about an interaction she had over an order at a coffee shop. She ordered a decaf latte. At 8 months pregnant, she always chooses to drink decaf. After waiting for about 10 minutes, the latte came and she noticed it was not labeled as decaf. She asked the barista if it was decaf. The barista responded with, “I didn’t hear you say decaf.”

The barista went on to fix the latte, but my friend left with a sour taste in her mouth. She felt like she had done something wrong.

So what went wrong?

It doesn’t really matter HOW the drink was ordered. What matters is HOW the situation was handled or corrected. When the barista said, “I didn’t hear you say decaf,” she implied my friend had ordered incorrectly and therefore the onus was on my friend. All the barista needed to say was, “I’m so sorry about that. I will make you a decaf latte right now.”

Here’s the lesson:

In a customer service situation, we all need to remember: It doesn’t really matter who was right or wrong. What matters is how we make the customer FEEL. We can spend all of the marketing dollars in the world, but if we leave customers feeling badly, they aren’t likely to come back.

How do you ensure you leave customers feeling positive about your business? Talk to us!

About Audrey Howes

Audrey has been an active member of the Swiftpage team since September 2009. Audrey manages Social Media and special projects with her marketing know-how and design expertise. When she’s not working you are likely to find her enjoying time with her family in the mountains near Steamboat, going for a run, reading a good book, being goofy with her kids, or savoring a latte in a local coffee shop.

9 Responses to “Marketing Moment: Make the Customer Think They Are Right”

  1. What is interesting here is that, in the wider context, what is to say your friend didn’t get it wrong? Maybe she was having an off-day and simply forgot to say she wanted decaf? She wasn’t likely to admit that to you – but her story implies she was the one in the right. As it always will when any form of bad service is encountered. There’s a section of people in society who seem to make it their life’s sole purpose to enact their own form of superiority over the “lowly” people – those on minimum wage, servers, benefits etc. In fact, there’s a whole web site (http://notalwaysright.com) devoted to these (hugely funny BTW!). To the barista this would be a non-story (as this probably happens dozens of times a day, what with the incredibly vast array of “options” on what amounts to boiled water and a few roasted beans!) so its odd as to why your friend decided she needed to relate it to you? Unless she had a point to make… Customers do get it wrong from time to time, but insist they don’t (most do) when faced with a challenge. Mainly down to the reason they don’t want to be caught out and having to pay for their own mistakes – easier to push that down the line !

    • Mike,

      Thanks for your comments and thoughts. I totally agree with you that the customer is not always right. In fact, my friend may not have been right. I believe what matters is how we make the customer feel. In a customer service situation, I believe the goal is to give the customer a great experience that makes them want to come back.

      • Hi Audrey, yes – I realise this was probably an embelished story to emphasise the customer experience angle. A free coffee wouldn’t break the Starbucks bank of course! What would be good to see is ways to deal with service issues that’s fair – but doesn’t give away the house. When scaled higher than the few cents of the cost of a coffee – how’s best to deal with real service issues etc.

  2. As a marketer, we have a responsibility to make sure that customer is happy. This is good example, how to handle the customer in critical situation.

    Thanks Audrey for sharing your friend experience with marketing strategy!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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