Customer Dis-satisfaction Selling

One of our long-time employees told me a story this afternoon that shocked me – although it probably shouldn’t have.

He is a Chinese food fanatic and probably eats it at least three times a week. He is also intensely loyal and when he finds a product or service that he enjoys he sticks with it.

He has been frequenting the same Chinese restaurant for almost 15 years. He loves the food and most importantly the large portions that are incredibly inexpensive.

The other day he went in to get one of their usual lunch specials and the following conversation took place:

Customer: I ordered the lunch special
Employee: Here you go
Customer: (hands employee $7.30)
Employee: The egg roll does not come with the special anymore. $8.30
Customer: Well, you did not inform me of that over the phone. I only have $8.00

At this point the employee reached into the box, took out the egg roll, put it on the counter and proceeded to hand him the box.

Now I must say that if this had happened to me I would have had some choice words for her, but he happens to be more mild mannered than I am. So he simply proceeded to walk out of the restaurant and go down the street to eat elsewhere. He has been eating at the new restaurant for a week now and it turns out that he likes the food there even more than at the original place.

What the employee failed to realize was that she was not in the business of serving food, but serving customers.

Now at this point you might see where I am going with this and are saying to yourself, “That example doesn’t apply to my business. They don’t teach their employees customer service like I do.” My response would be, “Just because you teach them to satisfy your customer base does not mean they are doing it effectively.”

Think about how asinine this example is. Let’s estimate how much money that our employee spent over the course of the 15 years he frequented this restaurant:

Average price ($7) x No. of Times Eaten per Year: (165) x No. of Years (15) = $17,325

This means that our employee’s Customer Lifetime Value was $17,325 and this was thrown away over a measly eggroll!

No matter how strong your hiring practices are and how well trained your employees are, there are always situations similar to this that arise. Ask yourself, do your employees care about your customers? Do they care about your business? And make sure to take precautionary steps to avoid these damaging incidents by involving yourself in every facet of the business.

That was one expensive eggroll!

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