You can spend a lot of time designing a perfectly curated customer experience for your customers, but sometimes, things don’t go as planned.

At some point, you will screw up, and your customers will be mad at you. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when. 

The question is: Are you prepared for when that happens? 

One time I was flying back from Riyadh to Dubai on Saudi Airlines, and the lady sitting next to me ordered coffee. I guess that’s a pretty common request to have on the plane. 

What was not common, though, was her finding a fly in her coffee. 

Ughh. 

She was disgusted and a little furious. She called the cabin crew to show them the fly. 

They apologized sincerely and offered to brew her a brand new coffee. But she was already turned off. She didn’t want anything from them that wasn’t bottled. She asked for bottled water instead. At that point, I was so glad I ordered a canned 7Up. 

That apology from the cabin crew wasn’t enough, and so the supervisor of the crew came to apologize again and offered to make her the coffee himself. Again, she refused. She was already turned off. 

Nonetheless, they asked for her email and boarding pass so that they could send her a written apology and a gift to compensate for what happened.

After numerous apologies in different sorts and shapes, at some point, she relaxed, and finally accepted the second cup of coffee, that was brewed for just her. 

Never mind that I was bothered throughout this whole process because I was sitting on the aisle side and had to listen to all of this drama. Saudi Airlines crew made it a point to apologize, communicate that this is not acceptable nor is the norm, and tried to remedy the situation. 

You see, that customer was going to talk about her experience with Saudi Airlines anyway. She was going to talk about the fly she found in her coffee to everyone she knows. Now, she is still going to talk about it. This time though, she will talk about how polite and sincere the crew was, and how they tried to turn the situation and fix it. 

Now, when things go bad in your customer experience, what do you do? Do you empower your employees to do what is necessary to make an angry customer happy again? 

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