Promotion fails are far too common in business. As Bryan Jacobson commented last week on the Burger King Promotion Fail:
There is no business upside to disappointing customers.
Successful business practices are also plentiful. Today I'll highlight a service business we've loved and tell how they made a bad situation into a good one for the customer.
Last summer — after a thorough search for an orthodontist — Samson began the long process of getting his “crazy teeth” prodded into the correct spaces.
Besides the fun beach/surfing theme I wrote about earlier, the office is always a welcoming place. Kids can check in on their own with the iPad on the reception desk. There is always a container of cold fruity water and a plate of cookies on the counter. There is usually some special game or promotion running and often free event being advertised. Kids earn “beach bucks” for wearing their company shirt, for posting on Facebook, for following good oral hygiene, etc.
Everyone is friendly and professional and we never have to wait long.
A couple of months ago, Samson came in for the final check prior to getting his upper braces put on. When we were done, the hygienist said she could schedule my appointment right there at the computer near the examination area. I whipped out my iPad and we coordinated an available date, which I added to my calendar.
Because we have a tight schedule, it's something of an orchestration to get everyone everywhere they need to be each day. The morning of the big appointment, I got the boys up, fed, and dressed, and got Monica to her performing classes with just enough time to arrive at ortho a few minutes early.
When I walked in the room, Samson — who had run ahead — said he couldn't check in. I asked why and was told that his name wasn't in the system.
After speaking to the receptionist, we discovered that there was no appointment set up for Samson, that day or any other day.
I explained that the hygienist had made the appointment and I showed the receptionist which station where it had been done. She went back for a few minutes. When she returned she apologized profusely. She said the hygienist didn't remember whether or not she'd done it and Dr. (Wade) T(hompson) was booked too tightly to fit in an installation that day.
This was not a happy moment for me. But the receptionist immediately said, “Just one minute people.” When she came back, she had a bag with a variety of $25 gift certificates and asked me which one I would like.
Now this wasted trip cost me much more than $25 in gas, trouble, and lost wages. But that's not what mattered. What was significant was that they took responsibility for the error and showed — in a very tangible way — that they valued my time and effort.
Immediately, the annoyance dissipated. Rather than be bothered about all the trouble and lost time, I anticipated enjoying a movie and treats at Carmike the next Friday, on the doctor's dime.
If you own a business, remember that “there is no business upside to disappointing customers.” And leaving your customers and clients happy will mean years of positive word of mouth.