I just paid $10.90 for a 32 oz smoothie. Yep, that’s right, a smoothie. And it didn’t have a filet mignon steak blended in with white truffle oil either. It was mango/peanut butter flavor (I know it sounds terrible, but trust me it’s excellent). The whole ordeal started during my trip to Florida a few weeks back where an employee at the Smoothie King in Destin talked me into getting their locally created concoction. I loved it so much that I wanted my local Brentwood, TN store to make me one just like it. That’s when it all went wrong and the lack of flexibility and customer service ended up losing me as a customer.
Since I knew the mango/peanut butter is not on the menu, I called the store in Destin and got the recipe: 7 squirts of water, 6 squirts of mango, 2 scoops of peanut butter and a serving of gladiator. As I place my order, the girl behind the counter at first would not accept my recipe. “The machine prints our order. You have to order one from the menu,” was her first response. “But I want the same product I had at the Smoothie King in Florida,” I pleaded. “I’m only supposed to give you only 4 squirts of mango. I have to charge you another dollar for the extra.” “A dollar for an extra 2 squirts?” I asked incredulous? “Yes and more for the peanut butter as well.” “Don’t I get two fruits with that order?” I tried again. “Yes, but peanut butter is not a fruit,” she said losing patience with me. So by now I realized that this was not going anywhere. This girl had no flexibility and she was not interested in helping me out. “Do I get a credit for having only one fruit?” “No.”
“Come on, give me a break,” I said in frustration. “You’re welcomed to speak with my manager but I don’t want to cheat my employer.” Wow, now she has played the integrity card. I tried telling her that I had this before several times and there has never been an extra charge, but it didn’t matter because now it was a matter of integrity and of her cheating by not charging me extra for deviating from the “printed” formula.
At the end of it all, I end up paying $10.90 for a smoothie that should have tasted a lot better than it did. Perhaps my bitterness over the inflexibility and lack of customer service affected the taste somehow.
As I ponder over my experience, I’m not sure that if it was the price tag, or the lack of flexibility that got the worst of me. I don’t mind paying more for something I really like, but inflexibility just drive me nuts. We’re all in the communication business, whether you’re a business executive, pastor, parent or clerk at the local Smoothie King, and when we can’t change the rules, we need to make the customer feel good about the experience.
Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.
Have you ever tried to order a egg white omelet at a Waffle House in southern Alabama? Please don’t. That’s another blog post for later.
Have you faced poor customer service that drove you away from a business lately?