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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How Great Customer Service Turned Ordinary Take-Out into an Outstanding Experience

Written by  Duane Bailey

It was one of those nights. Another late-night at the office. Car pools to after-school and evening activities for the kids. All my family and I wanted was a fast and convenient dinner. So we opted for the local Panera.

When we went to pick up our order, I looked quickly in the bag to see if everything was there. I didn’t bother to open each of the containers and just assumed they were complete. It was only after we had gotten home that I realized a couple of items were missing.

I had a few extra minutes between car pool assignments so decided to stop by the restaurant. The moment I walked in, an employee greeted me and listened to my story. Without hesitation, he apologized and said he would be right back. When he returned, he presented me with a bag and he told me what he had included.

When I told him he had given me too much (instead of one of each item, he had given me two), he looked at me, smiled, and said, “I apologize for your inconvenience. I hope you have a great night.” In that instant, he had succeeded in turning an ordinary take-out meal into an outstanding experience.

What made Panera’s customer service so great? A front-line employee was empowered to resolve my complaint. And without my asking, he found a way to make me feel like he had compensated me for the time I spent trying to correct their error. If your organization is in the business of serving customers, how great is your customer service?  


Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey

Duane Bailey is a regular contributor to The Chief Storyteller® online conversation. He has helped organizations of all sizes drive growth in revenues and market share through the development and delivery of key business messages that resonate with target audiences. He holds an MBA in International Business and a BS in Marketing. He brings 28 years of experience in marketing communications and high technology sales.

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