Last night, my husband went to Publix to purchase a pumpkin for my son's class. The price was mis-marked. Instead of $5.99 (as advertised on the shelf), it appeared as $10.99 at the cash register. My husband pointed out the discrepancy nicely, and within one minute, a Publix manager came over, apologized and gave him the pumpkin for free.
While other companies have similar policies, what's extraordinary about this experience is the apology, combined with the restitution (i.e. a free pumpkin). Publix admitted the mistake, apologized and stood behind its apology by giving away the pumpkin. That's a powerful combination, and it's the type of customer experience that builds loyalty.
So, if you are training your customer service reps to apologize for errors, go one step further. Make sure they are equipped with a tool for restitution. Otherwise, the apology can truly appear insincere. It's similar to your children saying "Momma, I'm sorry for eating cookies before dinner." But then doing it again the next night.Technorati Tags: retention, customer experience, Publix