Kate in the Middle – There’s No Button for That

Writer  /  Kate Rhoten

Whatever happened to creative problem solving? It seems to have gone by the wayside. Whether it is in the scope of being a client or a provider of goods and services or relying on another source for guidance, there doesn’t seem to be as much creativity as there once was.

Occasionally, some of these interactions are not as positive or creative as they once were. Larger, multiple location businesses have moved away from creative resolution of a client’s need. Rather they focus on providing a playbook for their employees to utilize. These transactions are no longer a unique experience.

As we continue to move further away from individual creativity and thinking outside the box in retail, it saddens me. I’ve spent most of my working life in sales and service. It’s important to relate to clients and find ways of creating an experience that will make the client want to come back to do business again in the future.

Case in point, we were at a very popular chain that we like to dine at due to the sports atmosphere. We asked what we thought was a simple question regarding the appetizer. It only came with three soft pretzels; we asked if it was possible to get a fourth added to the order so each of our family members could have their own. We even mentioned that we would be happy to pay for the extra pretzel.

Care to guess the answer we received after the server discussed this with her manager? You will never guess. She said, “No, we can’t do that, there no button for that.”

Really? OK. After she walked away, we all cracked up. No extra pretzel for us, so I divided two into halves and the third into fourths and moved on.

Since then, it has given us many a laugh as we make requests and make a game of it. We discuss what may be the course of action based on our request and how the answer may be posed back to us. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised that the business will accommodate our request. Other times, it’s mixed bag.

That was last summer here on the southside. In December, we were traveling through Missouri on our way to Oklahoma to visit my family. After we were settled into the hotel to break up the drive, we went to the same chain restaurant that we visited at home last summer.

We ordered our drinks and food. We watched the NFL game that was on television and chatted. I had a specific beer that comes in a very specific glass. When I asked for a second drink in a pint, I thought, no big deal.

It turns out it was a bit of a deal. When the server came back, he had good news and bad news. The good news was obvious. He had a pint of beer in his hand. The bad news, you ask?

Apparently, this particular beer is not available in a pint. The young man informed me that the beer in the pint was the same, but that our check would indicate otherwise. The check will list the beer as a domestic because (wait for it) . . .

There’s No Button for That

I felt bad for our server at this point. When we all heard his response, the four of us looked at each other and started laughing. Once I gained my composure, I explained to the young man why we were laughing. I do appreciate that he did provide the beverage I requested in a pint. However, this button being a reason is just beyond me.

This has become our own running joke. Since when did the technology in the workplace restrict the ability to provide great customer experiences?

Maybe I am getting older, but it seems to me that as fast as the world is changing in technology, we are losing the ability or the desire to be great delivers of service and experience. Have you experienced the same? I bet you have.

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