Customer Service Fail – When the experience doesn’t meet expectations

Kuala Lumpur April 1 2016

It’s 10am and the shops are just opening up ready for the 12 hr work day that seems to the the status quo in here.

In desperate need of a coffee I head down to the local starbucks with one of my staff members ( like with every city globally you can rest assured the US giant is around) doing this for a few reasons

  1. I know the coffee isn’t incredible but you know what you’re getting
  2. They make a good ice – tea
  3. It’s pretty much the same everywhere you go ( and so i thought)

Rock up to the counter and I order a single shot with one sugar and an earl grey ice tea. The three people around the corner look at me with a confused look on their face, so I move to give the young guy taking the order a repeat of what I asked for just in case he hasn’t fully understood me ( sometimes I don’t understand me ) and since we are in a foreign country I just wanted to be sure.

He then proceeds to grab a few cups and asks me what was it I wanted again? So again I repeat the order. A few seconds later he goes into a side door that look like it lead to the kitchen, speaks to someone in there that comes out and starts shuffling through different cups, looking for god knows what and disappears. By this stage he still hasn’t quite grasped what I was wanting.

Now I know that patience is critical however it’s 10.30 a line is forming behind me and I’m getting frustrated. I proceed to tell him “ you know what don’t worry about the order it’s too hard” He responds and says “I understand what you want and it’s 26 ringett” so I’m like cool here you go.

We move to the edge of the counter and the next staff member ask “what do you mean by single shot ?” I proceed to explain it and a few minutes later she hands me a tall cup with the contents barely covering the bottom of it. I ask her “ is there one sugar in there ?” she answers “yes sir”…cool.

I take one sip and it’s cold and no sugar.

On top of this I also ordered for one of my staff members a cafe latte’ and get handed a large cup that’s full to the brim with milk. Now as she is making it he says to her” Just half with milk please” and asks her as she hands it to him “ half milk” to which she replies “yes sir half only” so I’m like WTF!!

So cold black no sugar, ice tea with tea bag no sugar, and a cafe latte’ that you could have used the milk for your whettie’s.

I’m already exhausted and it’s only 10.30…right.

Now I know this is a first world problem and I also know that they are doing the best and that perhaps they are new on the job ( the guy taking the order shared that with me ) but my dollar counts. I paid for what i believed would be a replicable experience I’ve had a hundred times in the US previously but it fell short by a mile.

So effectively my expectation and the experience were mismatched.

Let me ask you

  1. What do you have in place as a business to ensure that what you display equals what your customer is expecting?
  2. How are you monitoring this?
  3. Do you have a process that can be edited trained and re-tested to ensure i high standard is delivered every time and If not what can you do to rectify the issue?

The competition today is super high and we cannot afford to have little slips ups come with the price tag of losing a customer. Especially if all of this could have been easily avoided.  

Here are 4 tips you can use to ensure the customer expectation equals the customer experience

  • Record and map out your contact experience ( when your prospect enquires all the way through to the post purchase follow up) This allows you to view and adjust and make better until it’s in the way that you as a business owner would like your experience to be.

TIP: Use your video on your mobile device as it’s super fast and can be watched over and over again by a new employee and it allows you to replicate the experience exactly how you want it to be.

  • Train whoever will be providing the experience till the point that you are at least 75% comfortable that they are able to deliver and replicate it. See there is nothing worse than an employer throwing their staff member to the wolves just because they haven’t taken to time to educate the employee.
  • Test and measure with a few ‘secret shoppers’ who are going to give you accurate feedback on what is great and what sucked so you can rectify and create an exemplary experience every time. cirque du soleil rehearse their shows for 2 years prior to opening night and that’s why 7 – 8 years later the performance and experience are as good as day one.
  •  Continually work on making the customer experience everything in your business by asking your customers how you can make the experience better. Surveying your customer and adding a little incentive for them to give you the correct feedback is priceless. They are the ones holding the cards.

At the end happy customer = happy business!!

Nick P
P.S there are 3 other coffee shops in the area and the next dollar that I spend will definitely not be Starbucks.

By | 2017-02-06T19:09:24+00:00 April 2nd, 2016|Business, Customer Service|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Ofra Ronen April 18, 2016 at 4:03 am - Reply

    That was so funny. You may guess what my response will be..hehe…you were the one teaching me there is a solution to every problem. Perhaps the solution is in taking control over your morning coffees when you travel rather than testing Starbuck’s ability to meet your expectation. Honestly, 1 little AeroPress, some hot water and a cup that’s all you need for a flavoursome strong coffee in your own hotel room. Then you’d be able to Blog about the importance of self-empowerment and ritual in all things we care about….lol…I so feel for you, Nick!

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