Recently at my shop I have noticed a trend with my team members when delivering bad news to customers. When a customer asks if we have a certain product and we are sold out, or if we are running a certain promo and that particular promo is now over, I have been frustrated by the delivery of the news. When asked if they can please have some popcorn, I would hear my team say something like “Our popcorn machine is broken.”. That’s it. Nothing following. Just a long period of silence after delivering the negative news.
After hearing this, I implemented a new strategy called Bad News Taglines. Anytime we deliver any bad news at all, we are required to follow it with a tag line. In the popcorn instance, the correct way to respond to request would have been: “I am so sorry but unfortunately our popcorn machine is broken right now. HOWEVER, we have ordered the parts to fix the machine and they should be here by middle of the week. But we just got a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies!…”.
I think that adding in a tagline such as this is something that comes natural to some, but for others it is important to remind them that all negative news needs to be accompanied and redirected by positive news.