10/30/13

Ask for what you paid for.

There are times when a customer will call to complain, because something that they ordered wasn't quite what they expected. There are various reasons. Sometimes, it's because we genuinely made a mistake, and the customer never got the thing that they ordered. It's rare when it happens, but it does happen. We are, after all, human. There are other times when it's been sat there waiting for the customer to arrive to pick up the food, and isn't quite at its best, now that it's gone cold. That can't be helped. In those cases, a simple "If you just microwave it for a minute, it'll be so much better, I swear", fixes the problem.

In other very rare cases, the customer gets a plate of something that they have ordered before, but find the dish to be completely different from what they thought they were getting. Again, I mention the human element, so as careful as all of the cooks are to make sure each plate goes out consistently, there are bound to be slight variations. Maybe one guy has a little heavier hand with the sauce, or another will be a bit more sparing with the dressing. Mind you, the recipes leave some wiggle room for such variations. There are, unfortunately, times when the person completely misunderstands the order, and makes what s/he thought the customer wanted, but ended up making something entirely different.

In most of these cases, the waiter will catch the mistake before it even reaches the customer. However, there are those weird times when it's a new waiter, or a crazy busy shift, and nobody has time to think clearly. In those once in a blue moon cases where the mistaken dish does reach the customer, often times the customer will say something immediately. And, about once every six months or so, I'll get either a email or a letter from someone, explaining that what they got wasn't what they expected.

This is when I'll go out of my way to reassure the person that (1) they're being listened to attentively, (2) they're not crazy for thinking that they didn't get what they expected, and (3) we will do whatever we can to fix the issue.

A similar thing happened with a company that we're using to keep our menus current, get a mobile version of our website, and keep the menus embedded in sites like Yelp and the like, so that if you're already on Yelp's site, you see our current menu. When I went through to check the work, the mobile site was basically plain text (which is what I had before anyway), the main site looked hideous, and the Yelp menu was just a link to our website, which defeats the whole purpose of hiring them in the first place.

I sent out a long email detailing what I didn't like. Within a few short hours, I got an email back from the rep from the company assuring us that they would fix all the issues immediately. I go on to the site this morning, and it all looks perfect.

I emailed her back today, and let her know that I appreciated the speed of her response, and her excellent customer service. Because she was so concerned that we were happy with their product, it meant that she immediately went through and tried to find what's wrong, rather than making excuses, or trying to find someone to blame. Her reply wasn't, "Well, it's because you didn't ______", but rather, "That's not how it should be. Let me take a look, and find out why it's broken." She did some investigating, and found out that a bit of code that should have been in there wasn't, and had the team put said code into place to make it all work again.

And now you have a happy customer, and a website that isn't broken.
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