About a year ago I went to Chick-fil-A with my family for an early dinner and ordered the usual — spicy chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and drink. The order came and we dove into our food. As I opened my sandwich to layer on some of that delicious and unnaturally-colored yellow sauce my worst nightmare came true — a hair on the bun.
There is literally nothing worse than hair in your food, in spite of the fact that statistically speaking we probably unknowingly devour a whole bushel of hair every year in the food that we eat.
The Chick-fil-A sauce lady walked by handing out sauces and I pointed out the hair. She was very apologetic and offered a new sandwich, but at that point I couldn’t bear the thought. I declined and she offered a refund instead, which I agreed to. Three minutes later she returned with the cash for my meal and handed it to me and my nightmare continued — a hair stuck to dollar bill she handed me.
I kid you not.
I pointed out the hair and asked if she could refund the refund. At that point, it didn’t matter and we both laughed it off. After all, I had no intention of eating the dollar.
Here’s the real kicker. I kept going to Chick-fil-A.
In fact, just recently I had a Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken sandwich for lunch, which was delicious as usual. In spite of the hair incident, I didn’t forsake Chick-fil-A once and for all.
Customer service. When customer service is on point, it covers a multitude of mistakes. I’m more likely to be forgiving to an organization that tries hard. And the same is true for your business.
As a counter point, about six months ago I started exercising again. Horrible idea, I know. My wife motivated me to do it. We joined the Crossfit craze and my body had been in a constant state of soreness ever since.
As a gift of relief, my wife did something for me that I would never do for myself — she lined up a therapeutic massage appointment for me. I’m not a real fan of strangers putting their hands on me, so I don’t often do this. She told me all I had to do was show up at 4pm and it was all set up.
I left a little early and arrived 15 minutes before my appointment. I walked up to the front desk to check in and the lady behind the desk instantly seemed frazzled.
“I’m here for the 4pm with so-and-so,” I said.
She looked at me blankly, stared down at her scheduled, then swore under her breath. She started to panic and talk to herself and say things like “oh no, not again” and “he’s going to be ticked (her boss).” She said apologetically that she’d “screwed up again” and double-booked the masseuse at 4pm and stared at me with that “bail me out” look so I said, “no problem…I can come back another time.”
"Great. Thanks." she said. And that was it.
Was it a problem? Yes.
Did I want to come back another time? No.
And I haven’t.
And, as I left that day, my only perception of that business was “disorganized, untrained, and unprofessional.”
Perhaps it was a one-off event, and the likelihood of that business truly being the embodiment of “disorganized” is likely slim, but perception is reality.
Let me say that again:
Perception is Reality.
What does that mean? It means that one person’s perception of your company is their reality, regardless what you think you are.
This also means that the more touchpoints someone has had with your company — in the form of different people they’ve worked with in your company or different locations — the more realistic their reality may be.
Your company is the sum total of your customer’s touchpoints.
This also means that each employee — each team member — IS the company. They may be the only touchpoint a customer ever has with your organization.
What message are they sending?
Hi! I'm Dustin.
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