BE the Solution!

I lead this post with a very sad, recent customer service experience . . .

My favorite “Surrogate, remote office” is a Coffee/Bagel shop within walking distance of my office. A few times each week, I escape the din of my office and work from there for FOCUS time and to meet with friends, clients, REALTORS, and other Business Owners.

This experience is “sad” because, for all this time, I thought they cared . . . about me and EVERY one of their customers. They let me down – Failed to serve me – and apologized – but egregiously offered NO SOLUTION.

I left that day SMH (Shaking my Head) with disappointment.

Hey! We ALL screw up and drop balls occasionally, right?

I’m not disappointed in these folks because they underserved me (and ALL of their other customers that day) . . . I’m disappointed because they didn’t care enough to formulate a solution to “make things right” . . . Instead, what we customers heard was a cursory “Sorry!” with an implied “Tough cookies for you . . . either eat what we DO have today or go somewhere else.”

I’ll tell the rest of this saga with the feedback I offered there corporate office followed by the shallow and neutered response I received the next day.

My feed-back letter:

First – I LOVE having this Bagel Shop within walking distance of my office.
I own and operate Pareto Realty – A niche and growing Residential Real Estate Sales Firm.
I choose to have many meetings with Clients and vendors at This place because it is convenient, quiet, and I love your Bagels.

Yesterday, I had a 10 AM meeting with my staff (Total of 8 People) and wanted to buy a “Bagel Pack” and coffee for the group, so I arrived at 9:45 to do so. when I looked at the “Bagel Wall” I noticed there were not more than 6 bagels PERIOD – and none of them were flavors I would have ordinarily ordered. I asked if there were more in the store, and the employee said that he would check in the back – When he returned, the news was not good – There were “a few cinnamon swirls.”

I have prior restaurant experience, so I understand the concept of running out of food – it happens. What I don’t “get” was that the staff had no solution nor was there any sign of pro-activity . . . Perhaps some signage (Apology that we are out of bagels) and maybe some creative alternatives – (Breakfast sandwiches at special pricing) . . . ANYTHING that would communicate that your staff cares enough about their patrons to offer solutions when they are not not able to serve as promised.

Ironically, I got a marketing email from you this morning all about “TRUST” . . . and I realized that that I now have less trust that you will have the product available when I come and that you will care enough to “make it right” when you don’t.

Next time I have a business meeting with more than a few people, I don’t think I’ll trust that you will be able to serve us nor will you care.

So . . . maybe Breugers across the street?

THIS is something that merits fixing.

thank you!


Their very corporate response

Dear Barry,
Thank you for contacting us.  We appreciate you taking the time to contact us regarding product availability at our Nashville, Tennessee bakery-cafe (#1697).

We carefully plan our baking needs using historical sales data and operational experience.  On unusually busy days, we may run out of certain products in the afternoon or before the end of the evening.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. I have forwarded your comments to the District Manager and to the bakery-cafe management team for review of your concerns. Thank you for your feedback. It will help us to improve our service.

We work very hard to create and maintain a great experience for our customers.  We enthusiastically invite you to visit us again in the future and give us another opportunity to serve you.


Customer Care Team

Annada didn’t read my letter very carefully (if at all) . . . and she totally just “passed the buck” and threw the management team of “#1697” under the bus – Yes, they failed me, but I come away from this thinking this is their “Corporate Culture” . . . Maybe they’ve become too big to care “enough.”

I was there at 10 AM (not late afternoon/evening), and I wasn’t complaining as much about the fact that they ran out of bagles as I was about the fact that they didn’t care enough to have a SOLUTION.

So . . . If you’re in business . . . ANY business . . . You’re gonna screw up once in a while.

Don’t do what this company did!

STOP THE TRAIN – Pro-actively Develop a strategy that will provide a SOLUTION for your customers AND be sure those folks you just under-served KNOW that you CARE!

Beware getting too big for your britches 🙂

Published by Barry Owen

Strategist-CEO of Pareto Realty Real estate sales Professional Inviter-Facilitator-Practicer of Open Space Technology Opening safe space for people & organizations to self-organize around issues & opportunities BarryOwen.US Invite-Listen-Love

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *