Bimbo Banter

Make it Right

  • Leadership
  • April 22, 2015
  • by Sally Ann Moyer

Curly fries

On a recent business trip, I faced the best of both worlds in customer service. It was a quick day trip so I was taking the first flight out and returning on the last flight back.

Unfortunately, I reached my morning departure gate just as the door was closing. I begged to board the plane but was abruptly told to “wait in line.” While I waited, the plane took off. I was put on standby then got a confirmed seat on the next flight. After a string of two more not-so-friendly gate agent interactions, I made it aboard what turned out to be a safe and friendly flight—but the morning’s interactions still left a bad taste.

Much later that day on my return, I found myself reflecting on one of Arby’s customer service claims. We’ve worked with Arby’s to prep some of their team for media interactions, so I was familiar with their goal to always “make it right.” This plays out to the smallest details in how their restaurant team members interact with guests.

I stopped at the airport Arby’s before boarding my flight home. When I asked for a bottle of water, the employee searched fervently for the coldest—then apologized that she couldn’t find a colder one. I hadn’t even noticed. “Would you like a cup of ice?” she immediately offered. As she sent me off, her coworker told me to come back as often as I liked for more ice.

I suddenly understood the real definition of “make it right.” It’s not about waiting for the customer to complain, but anticipating and finding solutions even before problems occur.

Of course, the airline was right that I was late to board. But the responses of each of the agents didn’t consider the customer or give the promised friendly service. Instead, they should have taken the initiative and asked themselves “What could they do to make it right?” I would have felt satisfied with an explanation as to what I could expect as opposed to waiting in the unknown.

While my Arby’s interaction was relatively small, it was powerful enough to provide a real contrast in my mind to the morning’s customer service interactions. Don’t make assumptions about your customers; instead, focus on how to always “make it right.”

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