Earlier this month my son, Cooper, and I were at Life Time Fitness. He played basketball inside the main building while I played tennis at another building. Following his workout, he stopped by the café to enjoy a smoothie. After the smoothie had been made, the café employee requested a method of payment. Cooper provided his membership card but it was not connected to a credit card so the employee was unable to accept it as payment.
Cooper mentioned that I was currently playing tennis across the parking lot and that we were due to meet in the café afterward. Perhaps he could take the prepared smoothie now and settle up when I arrived? Instead of accommodating Cooper, the employee withheld and later dumped the smoothie. When I eventually arrived at the café, together we waited in line to order another smoothie to replace the one that had been tossed.
Having paid for the $4.65 smoothie, we then made our way to Member Services to connect Cooper’s membership card to a credit card. While there, I used the opportunity to explore with the representative what recourse the café employee had besides withholding my son’s order before callously tossing a perfectly good smoothie into the trash.
Lessons from losses:
- She could have allowed Cooper to take the smoothie, saying, “Just have your dad pay for it when he arrives.”
- She could have recorded his membership number and the cost of the smoothie and passed that information along to accounting to add the charge to our monthly statement.
- She could have sought approval, if required for a $4.65 decision, from a club manager.
Instead, she disappointed two members by withholding a smoothie before tossing it into the trash. Her decision simultaneously decreased member satisfaction and increased food cost. Nobody won. But I don’t blame the café employee. I blame the processes that culminated in her “serving” my son that day.
It was clear to me that while she had been trained to make a smoothie, she hadn’t been trained to make a decision in favor of the customer.
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Photo credit: © Ireneusz Sinicki