I would like to share a quick story.
A department store offered a new service where the customer could shop and pay on line, then drive to the store and pick up the merchandise. I was getting ready to go out of town and I wanted a few things so I gave this service a shot.

Upon arrival at the store, I walked up to the service desk and asked for my items. The young lady could not find my order in the computer, so
I showed her my confirmation email and my receipt showing I had paid.

Her response. Wow, sorry. Why don’t you come back tomorrow, maybe it will be here.
I explained the following:

  1. I couldn’t come tomorrow as I was leaving to go out of town.
  2. The fact that my order is no where in the computer shows something went wrong.
  3. They advertise as 5 minute click and pick – how does tomorrow fit in this 5 minute service?
  4. How can she as the sales rep. help me resolve this?

NO RESPONSE other than a shoulder shrug.

So, I asked if I could get the items from the shelf since she couldn’t locate the order, and she said yes. I thought it would have been better if she would have gotten them, but I was in a hurry and did it myself. When I got back to the service desk, she rang the items up and asked my for $45.00.
I reminded her that I had already paid for these and have the receipt.
She said, well I can’t let you take them unless you pay for them.
I reminded her again that I did pay for the order. Her response was for me to pay again then call customer service for a refund on the original order.

Now I requested a manager get involved.
The manager stated that a new sales rep. filled the order and she pulled it from behind the counter. The young sales rep. told her that the order was not in the computer. They struggled and finally figured out that the new person deleted the order after it was filled.

This quick easy service that should have taken me 10 minutes tops, took me just shy of an hour.

How did this transaction go so wrong? Why wasn’t the sales person able to think through the situation and come up with good options rather than ask me to come back the next day or pay twice? Why wasn’t the manager more helpful? Or apologetic?

Somewhere along the line the staff person dropped the ball. She could not think through a satisfactory solution.

Together we identified and defined the problem.
She did not however, explore, take action or look back. This process failed for her therefore it failed for me, the customer.

Don’t assume your staff have the skills to properly think through, identify and fix a problem. Make sure they trained corrected and understand not only how to follow through but why to follow through.
The future of your business could depend on it.