We asked our waiter, Patrick, for another round and he brought out Nic and Dre’s glasses of wine. He apologized to Nic; they had run out of the Pinot Grigio she had been drinking so he substituted a different one for her.
She took a sip. “This is a chardonnay.”
Patrick looked confused. “No, it’s a pinot grigio.”
Nic took another sip. “Nope. Definitely a Chardonnay.” She handed the glass to Dre for her opinion. “Definitely a Chardonnay” agreed Dre.
He paused. “I’ll be right back,” Patrick said, disappearing behind the bar.
A minute later he came back with another glass and a bottle of wine. “You were absolutely right. It was a chardonnay. I am SO sorry for the mistake.”
We all had a great laugh and high-fived Nic on her stellar wine tasting abilities.
Patrick poured her a fresh glass out of the bottle of pinot grigio. There was about a quarter bottle left. He put it on the table. “I’ll just leave that there for you,” he said with a smile.
This was a simple mix up. Not a big deal in any way. But the recovery from the mistake? Amazing. Two days and and a few drinks later, I still remember our waiter’s name. We even tweeted the Hilton telling them that Patrick needed a raise (and he really does). That quarter bottle of wine probably cost them $5. Good publicity? Priceless.
This is the area where a lot of companies in the customer service industry fall flat.
Issues happen. They do. Nothing ever runs smoothly all the time.
But it’s how you recover that will make or break your reputation these days of social media.
Take for example my flight to get home from NYC on American Airlines.
All I wanted all day was just to get home so I could cuddle Vista, and smother her in kisses, and tell her how much I missed her. I’d been away from her for a whole week. That’s about 6 days too long for me.
It was going to be a late night (my flight wasn’t due to arrive until after 9pm), but Bil and Vista were going to make the drive into the city to pick me up. I couldn’t wait to see her. I breezed through my flight from Newark to Dallas. And then the day started going downhill.
First one gate change. Then another… …and another… The depart time on the flight kept getting later. 6pm…. 6:40, 7:00, 7:10, 7:50, and on and on.
With each time bump I got more and more upset.
I. Just. Wanted. To. Go. Home.
I was tired. I missed my daughter. I missed my husband.
By the time the depart hit 8:30pm, I did the math. By the time the plane lands + get my luggage + make it through customs, carry the one…. and…. it was going to be to late to bring Vista into town to pick me up. And no way I could afford the hour and a half cab ride to our town, IF I could even find a cab to take me. I was heartbroken. I sat in the airport wiping away tears of frustration.
I. Just. Wanted. To. Go. Home.
Resigned, I called my parents, and asked if I could stay at their house in the city until Bil could get in to pick me up in the morning.
Another gate change.
A change in terminals.
The flight got later and later.
And through all this there was no communication around WHY our flight was so delayed.
Finally at 9pm, we got on a plane. And sat there. We all looked around the plane. We’re we EVER going to get home?
The plane did, eventually, take off. By the time we got in, it was almost midnight. I had left the hotel at 9:30am.
And what did American Airlines do to make up the huge delay and hours of treking around the Dallas airport?
Not One Thing.
Not the offer of a complementary beverage. Not even a cookie.
Not only that, but they didn’t even bring enough customs declaration forms on board. Not even enough for half the plane.
Don’t you think during the HOURS of delays they might have been able to get that one thing together?? Yeah, you would think. But no.
As we say on twitter. #EPICFAIL
How much does a cookie cost? Weigh that against all the tweets that went around with their ID in it complaining about the flight delays, lack of explanations, and lack of recovery.
Service companies take note. Social media rules these days. Put your best foot forward and when things do go sideways make sure you have a recovery plan in place.