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Okay or Not Okay

20 December 2023

After a hectic working day, I rush into the supermarket for dinner. As I walk down the aisle, an attractive promotion for tortilla chips catches my eye. Perfect for my son, I think, as I throw the packets into my shopping trolley with a big smile.

At the checkout, as my cart is placed next to an empty cart, the friendly checkout assistant asks the inevitable question, "Do you have your loyalty card with you?" Oops, forgot my phone in the car. "No, unfortunately," I reply. The shop lady's response surprises me. She looks at me somewhat awkwardly and turns to her colleague, who looks in my direction with indignation.

The shop assistant apologises: 'I can't apply the discount on the tortilla chips as it only applies to loyalty card holders.' Trying to clarify my position, I say, "I am a loyalty card holder, I just don't have the card with me. That's never a problem, usually you just put it on the shop's card. The shop lady politely responds, "Yes but we can't always do that." Always? I explain to her that I do normally have my card with me. The shop lady insists, she cannot give the discount. A lady behind me in line is, like me, bewildered by what is going and offers me her card. Despite the offer, I decide to remove the tortilla chips from my trolley.

The incident continues to concern me. I am not used to such a reaction in my local supermarket. I send a concerned e-mail to the shop manager. Two days later, he calls me and says, "Ah ma'am, everyone can have a bad day sometimes."

Make it Crisp!

  • Your customer gives feedback with good intentions. He is expressing concern because something does not meet his expectations or previous experiences. Embrace this feedback and take it as an opportunity for improvement.

  • Never minimise your customer's emotions. Acknowlegde the unpleasant experience. Usually it's all it takes to forget a bad experience.

  • Listen carefully to your customer and try to understand their concerns. Even though you may think "Everyone has a bad day sometimes", let your customer know that you take their concerns seriously and are working to prevent it from happening in future.