How much is a customer worth?

It's only money

How much is a loyal customer worth?

The following is a true story.

A dear friend of mine was having a luncheon at her apartment after a funeral.  She ran into a local family owned grocery store to pick up a few items, and to her dismay when she got home realized that she had handed the cashier $100 bill and had forgotten to get her change. (the change was approx $74.00)

She immediately drove back, went to the cashier and told her what happened and  the cashier said there was nothing she could do.  She ask my friend if she could prove she left without the change?  The cashier said if her drawer was over at the end of the day they would call her.

No one called her.

She finally called the store and they told her the drawer was just fine.

I encouraged her to ask for a meeting with the owner and explain the situation and if he didn’t want to return the money that he at least needed to keep his radar up because either the cashier or the person that balances the drawers might be stealing money.

She did meet with him and he said it was her own fault for leaving the store without the money and that this is their policy.  She explained that she was upset and that she has been shopping with his store for 40 years.  He said, “Sorry”.

She said she was sorry too and told him she will never shop in his store again.

I understand the need for store policy, I understand the owner needs to stand behind his employees and I understand they need to be careful in these hard time of people trying to scam, but was there a better resolution?

What is a 40 year loyal customer worth?

Is it worth sacrificing one customer to uphold policy? Maybe so.

Was there a compromise the store owner could or even should  have worked out?  Maybe not.

Tell me what you think?

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Spring is my favorite time of year and spring is near !!!!


The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. If the drawer wasn’t over, maybe she was mistaken about the $100 bill. But if it was over and the shop decided to lie about it, that’s something entirely different.

    Either way, the situation could have been handled better. I know that when I worked in fast food, if we had a customer come back saying they weren’t given the correct amount of change, we pulled the drawer immediately and counted the register, because the store owner valued her customers. We wanted to resolve the situation quickly and keep the customer happy.

    The manager of that store could have been a little more sympathetic. 40 years is a long time to just say, “I’m sorry.”

    • I know if Nichole had a $100 bill in her wallet, she would know it and so would this lady. $100 bills are not an everyday thing for her either. I like the quick resolution policy of your fast food employer. Had that happened in this situation I feel confident the outcome would have been drastically different. Thanks for reading Nichole.

  2. Very interesting situation. In running a company where we take customer service very serious (everyone should, right?), there is no such thing as a blanket “policy” for all situations. Policies and procedures are, or should be, used as tools that allow employees to produce the desired outcome. In this matter, to simply say “sorry, it’s policy” and lose a loyal customer did not produce the desired outcome. It’s impossible for anyone reading this to know the perspectives of each argument, but if the situation seemed genuine, a compromise could have been offered… a future discount, credit, coupons, etc that could have salvaged or even strengthened the relationship. Judge each situation individually, with compassion and fairness.

  3. Doing nothing, as it actually happened, seems self-defeating to the owner. Or maybe he/she knows something we don’t.

    A generous compromise sounds like an obvious solution.

    Checking the till, by someone other than the cashier, right away, would have been the most effective process, assuming there wasn’t something going on in the store that would have prohibited that (doubtful, right?).

    • Since attending DI these types of situations just make me cringe. I know this lady very well, sweet as a button, has lived in this town forever and honest as the day is long. She actually caught me over paying her twice now and had pointed it out to me. Just thought it was an interesting story with a bad ending.

  4. I cannot believe this is a true story. A loyal customer is priceless. They didn’t even try and balance her drawer right away? I have never heard of such poor customer service. Glad I represent companies who value it.

    • Isn’t this awful. Reminds me of your digital camera story with Goodwill. There are some companies that just don’t know the value of a customer. They do seem to know the value of a dollar though.

  5. And this is why we will keep telling our story of how valuable good customer service is. For every good story we relate, there are countless bad ones like this out there.

    Preach on Donna!

    • David, there are so many stories of bad customer service and I hesitate to go down this road, but thought it was worthy.

  6. I am just in shock at the owners reaction – if he didnt want to hand her over the 70+ dollars – then coupons or something along the lines of that would have been a good idea. There were SO many diff’t ways to handle this and he chose the worst one!

  7. It seems that customer service has taken a back seat….of a really long bus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: