During a recent visit to Potbelly sandwich shop, I tried to order an oatmeal cookie with my sandwich. Unfortunately, the cookie tray at the front of the register was empty.
So I asked if they had any more oatmeal variety and was told that they would in about 15 minutes. Absolutely loving the sound of getting a fresh cookie, I bought one then and waited for for them to bring it out. But, 30 minutes later, still no cookies.
Having someplace else to get to, I asked about my cookie and was first told it would be about 10 more minutes. When I explained that I had to run, I was offered two cookies of a different variety.
In this case, the resolution was as easy as a free cookie. Although many times a resolution toward a customer service issue isn't so simple, the initial (and internal) approach a business takes to solving these customer-related problems can make a world of difference in reaching a resolution.
This Potbelly experience was very different than the one a friend of mine had with a tuxedo shop the day before his wedding. In this instance, the initial reaction of the shop was almost indifferent after they delivered poor fitting suits that didn't match the original order. It took an hour of phone calls and arguments before the shop they hired stepped up.
This recent post by Seth Godin outlines how a successful business might choose to approach these matters to make the process easier.