When good service is bad for your business


Coles Supermarkets
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I had to buy a paper recently that I don’t always buy; but it being a bulky edition, it came in two parts. As it happened, I did not get the one half of the paper when I made the purchase at a Shell service station (owned by Coles).

When I was in the shopping centre later that day, we did a quick bit of shopping from Coles (the supermarket proper – where it is always quick because (a) there are only a few brands & products that we can’t get from our normal supermarket of choice – Aldi and (b) many other shoppers seem to agree because there are never too many shoppers there.)

When paying at the cash register, I noticed the pile of papers and realised that I had not received the second half of the paper. I asked the cashier if I could get the half that I missed.

I was honest and told her that I bought the paper from the service station, and not from the supermarket and also that I did not have a receipt.
A quick glance around revealed that there wasn’t a manager or supervisor around to pass the decision to; so the cashier thought for a split second before she responded.

If you were guessing that I was going to tell you about bad service and how they should ‘given the customer what he wants’ – and all that jazz; you are wrong.
On the contrary, she said ‘sure, why not’ and allowed me to have the missing half of the paper. Good on her, did I hear you say?

Au contraire.

As it happens, I think that I wasn’t entitled to the paper. Whilst it is a small dollar value, it was actually an unreasonable request – in principle. But, I could still be convinced that they did it for the bigger picture of retaining me as a satisfied customer.

But here is the catch: she did not yield to my request because she wanted to give great customer service; she did it because she didn’t care if Coles lost money.

So, good service with bad intentions still leaves a sour taste in my mouth. And on the flip-side, denying my request but doing it with the right intentions and in the right spirit would have probably had a more positive impact on me.

Either way; is this the kind of employee you would keep or fire if you knew?
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