A few weeks ago I went to a local fast food restaurant to pick up a quick dinner. While I don’t usually use many coupons, my wife does all the time. So of course I was to use a coupon to reduce the cost of the meal. Part of why I dislike using coupons is the hassle that always seems to happen when you redeem them. When I try to use a coupon the code isn’t readable, I didn’t grab the right size or type for the coupon or I didn’t pay attention to the expiration date. This trip was no exception to my luck with coupons. What was the different about this experience was the way that the restaurant handled my mistake.
I rolled up to the speaker, placed the order (hoping that I got everything right this time), and then pulled forward to the window. That’s where the wheels started to come off of our dinner cart. The coupon I was trying use was forwarded on to me via email so as I was holding my phone out the window for the cashier to see, I had my usual feeling of dread about using coupons. It didn’t help that the cashier – with a smile and in a very nice voice – said let me get my manager and we’ll be right back. What did I do this time – right???
The manager came back and asked to see the coupon. He recognized it immediately and apologized that the coupon was for online orders only. (This is why I dislike coupons, there was a line on the coupon I missed that said exactly that.)
But as it turned out, this is where the wheels were put back onto our dinner cart. Even though the coupon was for online orders only and I was a drive-up customer, the manager honored the coupon price and let me have our dinner for the price we had expected. We probably would have continued to patronize this restaurant anyway but with the treatment we received on that visit, we have already been back once and will again. The difference on that one sale was probably about $2.00. In the grand scheme of things – not much. But over the next months/years we will probably spend that 10 to 20 times more than we would have without the great experience we receive on that one visit. How you treat your customers in the problems is even more important than how you treat them when everything is fine.
Who knows – I may even try to use a coupon with them (a valid one this time).