When They Drop The Ball

In a digital world where information can travel the globe in a matter of seconds, stories of poor customer service surround us. It seems a rarity that word of exceptional customer service finds it way to ours ears. I would like to share an experience of solid service.

Last week one of my colleagues and I went to grab a coffee after a full day of staring at a computer screen analyzing different reports. Needless to say, we both needed to get out of the office and to get an afternoon boost. We arrived at Tim Hortons (2021 Pegasus Rd NE, Calgary) and we ordered our coffees from the pleasant cashier. I grabbed my coffee from the counter and noticed that the tab to open the lid was placed directly over the seam of the cup. In order to correct this, I removed the lid slightly to turn it just as the cup of fresh goodness slipped from my hands, splashing to the ground!

I reacted quickly enough to pick up the cup with only 1/5 of the coffee remaining, but then took the time to stand in disbelief of how clumsy and foolish I am. I sauntered back to the counter to the friendly cashier and explained that I had spilled my coffee and to notify that it would need cleaning up. Her first reaction was “Not a problem. What did you have?” I replaced my order as I went to fish $1.79 from my pocket. She produced a new coffee and as I went to pay, she refused to accept my money. Thankful, I offered to mop up my mistake; again my offer was refused. So my only option was to thank her, return to my seat and enjoy my coffee (after the barrage of”what’s wrong with you” comments from my colleague of course).

It got me thinking though.

Tim Hortons the establishment, or the employees were in no way responsible for my mistreatment of sacred coffee, but yet they quickly replaced and my drink as if nothing had happened. Both the cashier and the lady who cleaned up were smiling and happy to be of service to my stupidity. And although I felt embarrassed, the staff’s “no worries” attitude quickly changed mine. Other than making a mental note to write about it, I was able to continue on my day and enjoy my new coffee.

It’s easy to take advantage of a customer’s mistake. Tim Hortons certainly could have collected an additional $1.79 from me, but they didn’t: they opted for customer service. Were they aware that I would write about this experience? Not a chance. I have to assume that this is also not the first time someone has spilled a drink, or dropped a donut. I am confident that this Tim Hortons has sent a significant number of people away with a good feeling.

But how often do we do this?

How often to we do our best to dissolve a customer’s mistake as if nothing happened?

I mentioned word travels quickly, but it seems bad news travels faster. And like it or not, sales is a referral business. Do we do everything we can to ensure our brand, our name, is represented positively? Or are we okay that news of our poor service can explode?

Let me know your thoughts and again, thanks for reading.

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