Customer Service…. I am irate right now, I am so sick of worthless companies who survive by providing shitty service to the people who pay them. As a consumer, my thoughts are that I will support a company that treats me like I am of value. Sure there are some things I am cornered into because there is a monopoly or little to no selection in the area for a product or service.
This weekend is a perfect example of both ends of the spectrum. Last night we went out to celebrate Valentines Day. I have never eaten at the restaurant but have heard great things about their food. My wife had eaten there before. We arrived to a 50-60 minute wait, I get that, it was prime time Saturday night. We decided to post up at the bar and have a drink. Since we got to sit down, I would have been alright with just ordering at the bar, but my date was more interested in sitting at a table. We had some small chat with the bartender who was extremely friendly and very helpful (asking about their beers.) We sat around and had an appetizer while we waited. After a bit of time, we decided that we enjoyed his service so well that we were going to forego our position in line (probably within 5 minutes of getting called to be seated) and eat at the bar.
We even made a point to tell him that his service and friendliness made us change our mind and stay seated with him. I asked for recommendations on a diner selection and he was great to offer a number of suggestions (something I would expect from a waiter, not as much from a bartender.) I am a stickler for good service, and will be more than willing to tip very well if the service is excellent. This ended up being a great meal and experience.
This brings us to today. We went to a new location for a place we go occasionally. We walked in and there were only 2 tables taken, after standing for 3-5 minutes without being seated, we finally got someone to seat us. We made our orders, both of us indicating that we did not want cheese or sour cream on the salad. The waitress even clarified this, and we said, NO cheese, NO sour cream. When we got our food, the taste was different than the other location (who knows if they are under different ownership or franchised or what.) I got about half way through mine before realizing the cheese was melted on top of the chicken (under the lettuce (taco salad.) As many know, my wife has a dairy allergy.
We both immediately stopped eating and waited for our waitress to come back around (again not like it was overly busy.) I explained and showed her that they both had cheese on them and we had specifically asked for them not to. I also pointed out that my wife was allergic to dairy. She looked at me blankly. My wife chimed in, “I’m not even interested in getting another one that is correct at this point.” The waitress just walked away and when she returned she pointed out that she put in the order without cheese and the kitchen must have messed up. At this point, I don’t care who messed up. I care about one thing, what are you going to do to fix it. She went and talked to a “manager” who looked to just be another waitress and came back with the bill, saying she comped us one salad.
At this point I was upset enough that we just paid and left. I still gave a tip that was >20% in trust that she did actually get it right and it was the kitchen’s issue. I will not be returning to this restaurant again though. In fact, I plan on letting everyone know that I would avoid it. It is sad that an $8 meal will cost them our future service. It is all about the concept. I don’t care about $8, but what I do care about is righting the wrong. Luckily her allergy just gives her extreme stomach pain, not like a peanut allergy. The principle remains, had it been a peanut allergy, the situation could be significantly different.
This is just my example from this weekend, and I have tons more which outline poor service. I am a firm believer that those companies will eventually meet their demise. I think this equally relates to products and services. If you are selling a product, you are also selling the service. A number of companies out there can churn out product, but the number that stand behind their products fully are much more rare. Have you ever had an example where a product may be out of warranty, yet the company offers to fix an issue?
This is one of the many reasons I stand so strongly behind Rev3. The quality of races they put on can be compared to any other “big brand” yet it offers something special, more like a home-town race feeling. Where they value your presence. This can be seen in the number of activities offered outside of the race. Sure the main draw is for the athlete and the race, but what about the family? What are they to do while one of the parents is out racing for a portion (or all of the day?) Well they go above and beyond to provide a family friendly experience and activities while also providing a top quality race. Take for example, more race series offering kids races to involve more of the family.
I urge you to do an assessment when you make purchases. Look at the product and service. Is there someone else that offers this? How does your choice stack up? I can tell you, I would be more than willing to pay more for something that is of higher quality or better service. To all of the companies out there, I work with data on a daily basis to make better decisions. Your customer feedback is one of your most valuable aspects. If something comes up one time, do not just ignore it, be receptive. If it continues to occur or come up… you better address the issue or you will suffer.