I stopped by the Panera Bread Company to drop off my Wednesday breakfast order for my work. I ran into the manager that helped open the store and was on duty the first few times I ever placed my order. Well, out of the last 5-6 weeks the store has actually been ready for me on Wednesdays maybe once. The order either gets lost, misplaced, or once I was shorted a few bagels. A little frustrating, but they are nice to me and usually compensate me with extra goodies or a large soft drink. As I stopped by today "Billy" was there and I told him I didn't have my peice of paper. He first said, "I want to apologize for all the trouble we've put you thru here in the past. I'm real sorry." My first reaction was, "Oh, don't worry about it." Then he reiterated that he was sorry and that he appreciated my continuing to order with them. No matter what I'd still go there because:
A) they have great food
B) they do not have competition
C) they are on the way to work
D) they have great food
But it was nice to hear an apology as I've had to make 2 trips on occasion, or have been late to work waiting for them to fill me order.
He hand wrote my order and said thanks. He informed me that he would be putting the order together in the morning as I walked out the door. I got in the car and thought that places and people RARELY offer a genuine apology and this guy just did. I actually appreciated it.
Makes me think back to 1997 when I worked for Sony Loews Theatres and their big thing was to train us on handling customer objections and how to immediately correct the situation. Tough to do when one customer comes out complaining how cold a theatre is and within one minute another says it's too hot. "Sir I'm sorry you feel that way, let me see what I can do about it." Both ended up happy if they saw you adjust a thermostat even 1 degree. We would also hand out a coupon for a FREE coke for the customer's inconvenience. A $3 value!
So, who do you need to genuinely apologize to?
I could start with apologizing to my wife for being a little cranky lately. Sorry to my kids for not spending enough quality time with them. Sorry to my ABF members for not giving my best lately when preparing a lesson. I'm sure I could go on all night, but at least this is a start.