A bad experience can be permanent mark on a customer’s perception of a brand. It’s not always easy and it’s not always obvious to fix things, but it is possible. And a popular tattoo parlour in Bali pulled it off.
That changed after my recent trip to Bali, and to Artful Ink Studio. My girlfriend was curious about getting her first tattoo to mark the trip and her experience there. She was inspired to take the plunge because a few of her friends already had. The front desk clerk at the studio was everything you’d want them to be for a first timer (or any timer, really). They were encouraging, not pushy, full of answers to every question (simple or complex), warm, helpful and funny. Hell, I wasn’t even planning on getting a new tattoo but they had me, just from their warmth and friendliness. Well played. I was now going to get a tattoo.
They closed an hour after my Friday appointment, at 8pm. I did consider making it the next day at 11am, right when they opened, but it would have cut too close to our “gotta get to the airport” time.
Where it Went Wrong
- When they asked me last minute if I could move my time 30min later to 7:30pm to accommodate an emergency staff meeting, I accommodated.
- When they told me I was to change the artist I had been assigned, to one I actually didn’t like the style of, I accommodated.
- When I asked about the new artist and their experience doing geometric shapes, they talked down to me. Saying that if it was still “just” the triangle design I had submitted, it would be fine. (translated to mean to me “it’s a simple tattoo, anyone can do it, why are you bothering asking?”)
- When I did arrive, for my changed appointment of 7:30pm, they weren’t ready and still conducting their staff meeting.
- When I knocked on the door, they shooed me to a corner outside in the rain, telling me to “just stand over there” with no time line as to when they’d be done their meeting.
- When I ended up waiting 10 minutes, I gave up, messaged them and left.
I don’t know why there was an emergency meeting or how that meeting would have an impact on the attitudes of its staff. Maybe they were more accommodating usually. Maybe they were stressed. Truthfully, as a customer, it shouldn’t overly impact my appointment or experience regardless. If it was something that just wasn’t avoidable, some communication, consideration and alternatives would have been nice.
Instead, in their reply to my Facebook message to them that I had left, I got a “Oh really. Sorry we had to have an urgent meeting. We’d love your feedback.” Followed by some sincere apologies and not the best excuses.
But I did share my feedback.
Where it Went Right
- They sincerely apologized.
- They owned the mistake.
- They acknowledged their failure
- They said they’d make it right.
- To do the tattoo for free that day. (I like free)
- Provide a different artist with geometric experience (the best of the three offered to date)
- At 10am the next day (an hour before they typically open and plenty of time to still catch my flight)
“What happened last night has never ever happened to us before and we have genuinely taken this as a lesson. For us to make amends is to give you the experience all of our customers receive everyday. You too deserve it so i hope you decide to complete your tattoo with us.”