Matt, we love you

By ayr July 5, 2011

I got the best phone call of all time this morning. Well, technically I’m the one who placed the call, but it left me with a happy buzz for the rest of the day.

Before I elaborate, Matt, let me assure you, we’re not in any way poking fun at you. There’s a serious moral to this story. I’m serious about that coffee. Come by and we’ll laugh about this together.

As you may know we’re a total hassle when it comes to paper receipts. We’re always happy to hand write a receipt, or we can have a receipt emailed to you, but we don’t print receipts automatically. There are a few reasons forthis. (1) We don’t want to waste paper. We were sick of throwing away 90% of the receipts we printed. (2) We want to save money, that receipt paper costs dough. And we’d rather spend it on the food. (3) Operationally receipts are a hassle.

So we’ve been working on an electronic receipt system. And it looks like we have some kinks to work out. I got an email from Matt this morning about an overcharge.

I screwed up by (1) asking him for more info. (2) Trying to explain I couldn’t issue a refund without credit card info, and (3) by asking if this was a prank phone call. To be fair, we were talking about a $0.35 charge on his credit card, that was correct (we charged him $10.70 for 2 sandwiches, which are properly $5 each + 7% tax). The receipt however said the total was $10.35 (that bug I was talking about). So anyway, I managed to make Matt very very mad. Not on purpose, but this was the type of phone call that required me to turn down the volume on my headset.

But here’s the really important part of the story, and why I’m posting it here. Matt yelled at me for something like 25 minutes straight. And it was pretty ridiculous. But I stuck with it, because I’m committed to you all, thick and thin. And here’s the best part. There was a turn in the conversation. Matt went from saying things like “who taught you to run a business?” to “you run a great business.” From “you’re wasting my time, why are you wasting my time?” to “I’m sorry, this is silly, I’m wasting your time.” From “YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO ASK ME IF THIS IS A PRANK CALL!!!” to “I can see why you asked if this was a prank call.”

And you know what made that turn happen? I treated him like a person. I asked what he wanted from this. I asked him about where he lived (I needed his address to mail his check for $0.35), and I asked what businesses he ran (he’d mentioned many times that he runs businesses and would never run them like this). And after a pause everything changed.

The lesson, we all just need to find ways to talk to one another as people. It’s so easy to get yourself worked up and ready to chew out some customer service rep. But it’s a little different when you start thinking of that person as your neighbor. We want to be your neighbor. It’s beautiful what can happen when you get there. Thanks Matt, you made my day. And I’m serious about buying you a coffee. Let me know next time you’re by.

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