Caribou Coffee Fails at Customer Service Recovery

Caribou Coffee Fails at Customer Service Recovery
None of us are perfect. Neither is any business. The good news is most customers don’t expect the people they do business with to be perfect. But as customers we do expect businesses to fix things when they go wrong.

One of my favorite coffee places provides a current example.

It was a beautiful late summer morning. A Friday morning. I had time to swing by Caribou Coffee for a decaf and a breakfast sandwich.  The young lady who helped me was very pleasant. She seemed to to enjoy her work and she did a good job engaging with me while I waited.

Things went downhill from there.

They put cream in my coffee which I did not order. (I have never taken cream in my coffee.) And they filled it to the rim, which I asked them to not do. This made my coffee undrinkable and caused it to spill all over. If you drink coffee in a car, you know what I’m talking about. That’s why they invented the term “travel room”.

So I drove back to the Caribou Coffee shop and got a replacement and some napkins. They apologized but that was all.

When you do something that causes a customer to have to come back to your business (wasting their time) and gets coffee all over their clothing, you should do more than apologize.

An apology gets you in the service recovery game. But it’s only table stakes.  You need to do more if you want to win.

Since their on site staff dropped the ball on this service recovery,  I sent some feedback to the Caribou Coffee corporate offices via their website.

No response. Nothing.

They had two opportunities to recover from a simple problem. They failed at both. They failed for two reasons:

1. Their employee handling the service recovery did not understand what to do in a situation like this.

2. Their corporate offices did not respond to my feedback.

In this case, the fix is easy. Train your employees and respond to customers.

As a customer, when I am inconvenienced, I look for a reasonable fix. I would like some acknowledgement that you have just caused me to waste my time and spill coffee on my shirt.

You don’t have to buy me a new shirt.

All I ask is that you acknowledge the situation. Then offer to do something.

I have heard people say they would likely go back to a company that does a great job handling their complaint. And they’re more likely to tell others.

I believe this. Customer complaints are opportunities for people and businesses to shine. They give you the chance to show your customers how much you do want them to stay.

Overcoming customer complaints is not hard:

1. Apologize

2. Fix the problem.

3. Offer something extra as a way to show you understand this customer has been inconvenienced.

This simple formula can help your company overcome almost any customer complaint. And it will keep your customers coming back.

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz