How Do You Deal With Service Problems?

If your customers are unhappy with your service or quality, how do you deal with it?

During my wife’s pregnancy, she craved burgers and onion rings from a large chain that sells gourmet burgers.  She was very specific on what she wanted – plain, very well done with no pink, blue cheese, and cut down the middle to ensure it is doneInstead of the normal fries, she always wanted the onion rings.  I would call ahead and fetch the food to bring home.

I can think of six times in the nine months where the order was wrong.  One of the elements she required usually did not make it into our to-go box. 

After the first few times of arriving home with a wrong order, I began opening up all of my boxes in the restaurant to inspect and still found errors.  I began prefacing my call-in to tell the person the common problems I have experienced and still did not get the right thing.

Why did I keep going back?  The management apologized profusely and always gave me my food for free.  As a customer, I know the company will always take care of me.  This is a plus for them.

On the flip side, what else could the burger joint do to handle problems?  If they were committed to continuous improvement, they could use the event of paying for someone’s meal as an opportunity to ensure the problem never happens again. 

  • The manager could have a chef hand out the free gift card for a non-well-done burger to help them see what the customer is experiencing.  This will help gain committment for change.
  • For the times when the person taking the order over the phone did not put in the substitute for onion rings, the leader can work with the person to identify what caused the problem (maybe entry screen is unclear or inoperable, maybe the process is to just verbalize the substitution to the chef). 

Do you think real-time problem solving can be done in a high-volume restaurant or is the immediate counter-measure of giving food for free the best they can do?

Keep on improving!

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3 Comments

Filed under Business, customers, Improve With Lean

3 responses to “How Do You Deal With Service Problems?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention How Do You Deal With Service Problems? « Improve With Me -- Topsy.com

  2. I truly believe problem solving techniques can be applied to service industry. Our company has a book on the subject of Six Sigma disciplines being applied to small business and service industry. http//atsixsigma.com

  3. I’d certainly want them to move beyond just paying the customer off (gift card) to real problem solving and improvement (in a blame-free environment). Giving the customer money when you mess up is an expensive customer-service strategy, I’d say.

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