On the way home from our crazy timeshare presentation, we stopped at Outback Steakhouse for dinner. After our food arrived and I started eating, I realized that it was overcooked.
The server asked if everything was OK and I explained that it wasn’t. She then did the unexpected and asked me what I would like done. She didn’t tell me what they would do for me. She simply apologized for the problem (even though it wasn’t her fault) and asked what I would like. I chose to have them bring out some new meat. They brought me a new plate with properly cooked meat surrounded by all the trimmings.
I probably could have asked for a refund, a free dessert, or a new meal. By allowing me to decide, the server empowered me as the customer to chose a solution to the problem that I felt appropriate.
Let your customers decide
When something goes wrong with your product, ask the customer what they would like. If their request is reasonable and feasible, make it happen. If they give some outlandish response, explain what you can give them and then provide a few options of your own.
Allowing customers to decide upon a problem resolution makes them feel like they won. They got what they wanted. When customers win and feel good (even after a potentially bad experience), you have a greater chance of them returning in the future.