***Before we get started I want to point out that I replaced actual company names with fictitious names to protect all parties involved. Okay, here we go...***

What would you did if you were in this situation?

I pull up to Asiago Bagel Co's drive-thru to pick up a bagel pack for a meeting I’m headed to.

The woman on the intercom tells me they do not have cream cheese, and to make up for that, they can do a baker’s dozen.

It completely threw me off, and I’m not quite sure how exactly she even said it, but I confirmed, “Did you say you don’t have any cream cheese at this location or at any Asiago's in Kansas City?”

Her response? No cream cheese at any of our Kansas City locations. 

After a quick Google search, I learn that Asiago's had a recall on all of their 6 ounce cream cheeses because of one defective unit.

For me it is a minor nuisance. I decide to pick up a bagel pack from TJ's Bagel Co, a competitor down the street. TJ's bagel pack, by the way, was served faster and was a few dollars less expensive than Asiago's. 

As I pull away from TJ's, I start to think about this whole situation from the perspective of the Asiago Bagel Co's CEO.

Imagine you walk into your office one day, and someone tells you that there is a major problem and you have to make a quick decision. 

In Asiago's situation, it’s really easy for either of us to say, “You have to do the recall. It’s too risky not to”. 

And I agree. A recall is the right move. But what would’ve gone through your mind?

If you choose the recall, you are going to be sending your customers DIRECTLY to your competitors and you risk losing them forever. If you choose to avoid the recall, you risk getting your customers sick, which may completely put you out of business. 

I don’t think there is a single one of you reading this article that will say you would not have done the recall. So let’s think about this instead:

If you are in Asiago's CEO's shoes, what options do you offer customers when they try to order a bagel pack that you can’t fulfill? 

How do you keep your customers from going to the competition?

What if you are the CEO of TJ's? What’s your first move? How do you capitalize?

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Brad Telker
Vice President of Commercial Sales at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of Commercial Sales, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys photography, running and spending time with his family.