Failing to be Prepared for System Failures

I’m sitting here at Starbucks in Ormond Beach, Florida. I know… Starbucks. I shouldn’t be working, but I am.

Tropical Storm Julia came to life yesterday and it caused flooding, power outages, and high winds. However, today It’s a pretty nice day. I should be at the beach, but I have to get some things done for a few events coming up at Howard Brothers.

First thing that happens when I walk into this Starbucks is I find out their ability to scan starbucks cards/Apps is down. I guess the nice thing is that they came up with a way to validate or take money, and they still are serving coffee.

But then I realize that their wifi is down.

Not the end of the world as I am blessed to be tethered to my phone, but I’ve seen 5 people order coffee, sit down and open their mac books and realize that wifi is not working. They get mad. They go to counter and ask, “is wifi working?” Employees respond no. Customers get more mad. Customers grab their computers and leave.

So here’s what I’m thinking as I am working.

  • Why isn’t there some sort of pre-emptive attempt to inform the customers lining out the door of the problems plaguing this starbucks?
  • Who is at fault?
  • What could be done better in this situation?
  • When was this first recognized and when will the problem be resolved?

Loss of wifi isn’t that big of a deal, but loss of customers IS.

Let’s face it. Those of us who still give Starbucks our business from time to time are sheep. We are dumb creatures who don’t know better. Broken wifi, one day after a tropical storm, isn’t going to keep us from never returning to starbucks again.

However, it’s often the little/nagging things that tick people off the most.

Which makes me think about system failures in other organizations which I’ve been a part.

  • What are the little things that bother our customers the most?
  • How could we have better prepared for these situations? We know that they will happen… Why not prepare?
  • After the system failures, do we step back and review what our response was? If not… why not?

It’s the little things which tend to get people angered the most and causes  them to become vocal. We need to be able to recognize them so that we can address the little things better in the midst of them.

 

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