Not to get all Seth Godin on you, but a Shell gas station here in Great Barrington moves me to comment.
Attached to the pumps is a big sign where the largest type reads “If you have a complaint…” followed by information on how to contact Shell Corp. Likely the result of a “service quality guarantee” program or just a way to give HQ more control over issues which when handled by the franchisees, have a high degree of variability in resolution.
Holding aside the notion that empowering the individual station owners to provide great service and resolve issues on the spot would be an excellent solution, the sign irked me.
What’s the incidence rate of angry patrons – 1 in 250 customers? That means 249 customers have a lasting memory of a sign which suggests complaints at Shell are so prevalent and challenging that corporate needs to take it into their own hands. All i can recall is 36 point font saying “COMPLAINT.” Why not have the sign say “We guarantee excellent service” then in smaller type give the way to communicate experiences where you believe less than excellent service has been delivered. The one person in 250 who wants to escalate their complaint will still have the details to do so, and maybe the other 249 will remember the “GREAT SERVICE” headline instead.