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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2007
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    Atlantic City, NJ
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    382

    Customer Service Question...

    I was recently in a coffee house observing and I witnessed the following:

    A woman ordered two iced beverages. The barista prepared it; money exchange uneventful. The two women each take a sip of their respective drinks and the one asks, "Is this decaf?" The Barista says, "No, you didn't order decaf." The customer says, "I'm sorry, I can only have decaf." The Barista replies, "Well, I really don't know what to do... I could make you another drink for a dollar each." They reluctantly agreed, and the transaction as done. I have thought about the scenario over and over and what I might have done. IF I would have done something differently. I just am not sure. I see both side of the argument, but I haven't really been able to come to a conclusion. I would like to know your thoughts and what you would have done, if you would have offered an alternative solution? I am sure this will be an issue for me at some point, so I would like to have an idea of how others would handle this type of situation.
    AJPratt
    Pratt's Hill of Beans

    "Don't laugh at the coffee. Someday you may be old and weak, too."

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
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    Aug 2003
    Location
    Boca Raton
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    3,498
    personally I would have made the drinks over for free. You might lose a few cents on the customers mistake but you will gain a long term customer.
    "Wine is for aging, not coffee."
    Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlantic City, NJ
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    382
    That's what I always thought and in other food-service related businesses where I have worked, that's what they've done.

    Some people are just scam artists, but its not like they drank the beverage and then wanted something free.
    AJPratt
    Pratt's Hill of Beans

    "Don't laugh at the coffee. Someday you may be old and weak, too."

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Bloomer, Wisconsin
    Posts
    73
    I completely agree with Topher. We have had this scenario happen at our shop, and its just good business to simply say "Let me make you the drink that you would like," or something similar. Just remake the drinks, and you'll have to satisfied customers. They will have learned that they need to let the barista know exactly what they want/need for the future anyway, so no need to go over that verbally.

    Make them new drinks, apologize for the inconvenience, and send the smiling customers on their way! Cheers!
    Darren Kirby
    The Comfy Place Coffeehouse

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlantic City, NJ
    Posts
    382
    OK... So its not just me. I can certainly understand that drinks cost money, but is just seemed so cheesy.
    AJPratt
    Pratt's Hill of Beans

    "Don't laugh at the coffee. Someday you may be old and weak, too."

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Seattle,Washington USA
    Posts
    874
    I must ask was the barista an employee or owner? Although we all agree that the drink should be remade to please the customer. We don't know if the owner of the establishment has a policy in place not letting the barista make that choice. And yes there are some out there that may try and scam a frebie out of you, although this does not sound like it in this case.
    "A Word of Difference"TM

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlantic City, NJ
    Posts
    382
    This guy was not the owner, and I could understand if there was a policy in place like that, that might make more sense to me. It was a very awkward situation--tough to even watch. It was like an accident: you really don't want to look, but you can't help but gawk anyway.

    If she had consumed half of the beverage and then spoke up, I would have perhaps questioned it, but it was right off the bat. Or, if she had purchased a bottled beverage...
    AJPratt
    Pratt's Hill of Beans

    "Don't laugh at the coffee. Someday you may be old and weak, too."

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    1,552
    I would remake the drink then tag the customer. If they turn out to be a repeat offender then I would take a different approach to the problem.
    Have you ever walked through the aisle of your local grocer and smelled the death of a dying bean?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Old England (UK)
    Posts
    314
    • Drink cost 30 cents (i'm British so may have got that a little wrong)
      Long term customer profit $10, $20, $100, $1000, $?
      Customer tells 10 other people of bad experience....loss= $$$$
      Customer tells 1 other person of good experience....gain=$


    In this case as there were 2 customers, there was the potential to double the loses/gains all for the same 30 cents. It's a no brainer and if they do it again, it's still a no brainer....do the drink again. The customer is pretty much always right....unless they are wrong so often that the above financial model no longer holds true!!!

    P.S. It's the marketing research that says when they have a good experience they might tell one or two people about it....but when they have a bad experience they usually tell at least 10 other people about it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlantic City, NJ
    Posts
    382
    If its someone habitual, then yeah, you have to draw the line somewhere as they aren't really a good customer to begin with.

    Davec: We have always gone by those guidelines in food service. Because it really is true. When you have a great experience you don't really say anything, but when someone treats you like crap, you tell a lot of people. I know I do.
    AJPratt
    Pratt's Hill of Beans

    "Don't laugh at the coffee. Someday you may be old and weak, too."

 

 
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