Mo Orders, Mo Problems In Customer Service

article-2229776-15EA3162000005DC-226_634x197Have you ever noticed that when you purchase in bulk, whether it be food, drinks or any other item, the reps at the store often freak out?

For example, I’ve had the task of picking up Starbucks Coffee orders from a large group of co-workers in the office. I wait in line at the already busy-line-out-the-door coffee shop, approach the counter with my list of drinks, hand it over to the barista and am either greeted with a giant smile (from a happy employee) or a giant sigh, eyes darting for help, accompanied with an overall look of pure frustration. Then, since the employee is frazzled, the orders are done wrong and no one is happy.

We know that large orders require extra time and effort. They are not always easy! But, the customer choose to take their business to that company and pay the big bucks for the big stuff.

But for some people, mo’ orders mean mo’ problems in customer service.

Our office manager had an encounter with a local sushi restaurant she ordered catering with, a bill of $300+. Our lunch was scheduled for noon. However, they gave her attitude because they typically don’t open until 11:30am. “There’s no way we’ll get your order done in time, but we’ll try” they told her.

She placed the order with them a week in advance.

You’d think that perhaps, for such a big order, they’d take the extra 30 minutes to prep for the catering event. Instead, the large order caused them to be annoyed.

Well, next time we’ll take our business elsewhere!

Perhaps you’re not staffed for the giant call queue one day in your call center. Yikes!

But, this doesn’t mean it’s doomsday, right? Or does it?

While you may have to put in extra blood, sweat and tears to get the job done, it’s how you appear to the customer that makes the largest impact (and guarantees that you’ll get repeat big $$ business).

So, what’s the trick to ensuring that bigger orders and customer accounts are welcomed with open arms, despite being short staffed or have to work a bit longer?

Here are some ideas:

1. Appreciate The Chaos

These big customers bring big changes to how things are done. Change should be welcomed! It may open doors to how to handle these situations better in the future and prepare for them. Also, I like to remind myself that “it will all be over soon!” Take a deep breath, throw on a big smile and embrace the crazy!

2. Take Notes

After the storm of busyness passes, make sure to have a discussion with your team to understand what went right and what went wrong. Having a game plan, with feedback from those that were right in the eye of the hurricane, can strengthen your team significantly and improve the customer experience next time this happens.

3. Be Grateful

Sure, you worked longer hours that day. Sure, stats were not the best because the queue was out of control. However, these customers made a decision to do business with your company. Always remember to be grateful for this!


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  • Your post raises some very interesting questions for me!

    1) The one person, many drinks situation at Starbucks is a challenge. It raises an issue of perceived fairness for the customers waiting in line behind this person. The line suddenly feels like it comes to a screeching halt. Those feelings easily spill over to the baristas. I don’t know of a great solution to this.

    2) The sushi place should have been clearer about expectations and either found a way to get the order on time or declined the order. I can also understand why they wouldn’t bring in people early for a $300 order, though I don’t necessarily agree.

    Finally, I learned this lesson long ago: What a customer considers a big order and what a company considers a big order are often two different things. This perception gap makes it essential to keep your cool (as you suggest). At the same time, I don’t always know if it’s a good idea to welcome big orders with open arms… That part is tricky.

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