Free Avocado


I really like avocado. Whenever I am trying to decide between two sandwiches at a restaurant, the one with avocado will almost always win.

The other day, I was at the Stacked Pickle. I ordered their Turkey, bacon sandwich because I thought it came with avocado. When the sandwich was delivered, I asked the server about the missing avocado.

He politely explained I had read the description incorrectly. The sandwich actually came with avocado-mayo. I didn’t have time to be disappointed, because he immediately asked if I would like a slice of avocado for my sandwich.

I was impressed with his responsiveness. And I was even more impressed when he didn’t charge me for the add-on to my sandwich.  Instead of making me feel foolish he apologized, saying he thought the menu was a little confusing.

In a study by McKinsey, they discovered 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels he or she is being treated.  In this instance when he took ownership  of my mistake it was obvious he was more concerned with making sure I was happy with my meal, than worrying about the “rules”. In doing so, he earned a big tip, and a customer for life.

As  you think about your own business ask yourself the following questions

  • Do you encourage your employees to think outside of the box or are your rules so rigid it would never occur to them to do so.  I have been in many restaurants which clearly state “NO SUBSTITUTIONS”.  While it is their right to run their business that way, it is also my choice not to frequent their establishment.
  • Do your employees have the freedom to make adjustments to satisfy a customer or do they have ask for permission. Waiting for a manager to approve a $1 slice of avocado as my companion ate his sandwich would have been extremely frustrating.
  • Do your employees lead with I’m sorry, even when it isn’t their fault? Those few words can really help diffuse the tension in a conversation with an unhappy customer.  Even if all you say is “I am sorry you aren’t happy” sends a strong signal you are interesting in resolving their issue.
  • Do your employees really believe their job is to make sure the customers are delighted. My waiter clearly did, and as a result I will be back.

Extraordinary businesses start with extraordinary people who go out of their way to take care of their customers.  How do your’s measure up?


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