About a year ago I was introduced to this fantastic place to eat called Energy Kitchen. As someone who works out rather regularly and is trying to stay on a good diet, a retaurant serving low calorie, great tasting food is perfect!
All of the times that I went there for lunch last year were positive. I ordered my food, was given a buzzer, sat at a table and waited for my buzzer to go off and then went and picked up my food. When I was done eating my meal (which always tasted great), someone actually came around and took my empty tray and threw out my garbage.
When I returned this year (to the location closest to my office) with some friends I expected the same experience, but it didn’t quite end up that way. From the beginning the whole experience was completely different. Out of our group of four, only one of us was given a buzzer after putting in our orders. The rest of us were told that our names would just be called when the food was ready. After finding a table and waiting about 15 minutes, we realized that we couldn’t hear the person calling out the names. We also noted that nobody could hear the names being called because people were congregating around the area where the food was being given out. I finally heard my name called and received my order, which was incomplete. Along with a salad I had orderd mixed vegetables but was only given cauliflower and was told that the other mixed vegetables weren’t ready yet but that they would be delivered to me at my table when ready. My friend who received the buzzer never saw it go off but instead had her name called, and lastly my other two friends (after waiting 30 minutes) were told to pick something else because what they had ordered had run out.
The restaurant was clearly having a hard time keeping up with the lunch traffic and with their buzzer system not working it made things worse. What also didn’t help was the tone and words chosen by the employee handing out the food orders. Phrases like “Yo what did you order man” and “over there, you get it yourself” weren’t appreciated. To the manager’s credit, he did speak to the employee about how he was talking to customers, but the damage had already been done.
In the end, I never received the other mixed vegetables that I was promised (and actually had paid for), and nothing was really done for my two friends that waited 30 minutes to be told they had to choose something else. The cashier eventually walked over and gave us free brownies, but it would have been better had it come from the manager.
So although my salad tasted great, the service was far from good and memorable for all the wrong reasons. The question that I asked myself immediately afterwards was, “would I go back and endure another horrible service just for the food?” The answer is no, I wouldn’t go back for that.
This is just one example of a negative experience that I had, and it just so happens that it was related to food service. But I’ve heard horror stories from friends too about the nightmares of having products that they’ve purchased serviced. Brands need to make a conscious effort to make customer service just as important as product quality. Let’s face it, products break. The sale doesn’t end after the customer’s initial purchase.
One last comment. Brands are always looking for new advocates. Well what better advocate is there than someone who has purchased your product and has had a great customer experience ever since. I’ll bet that customer would make a great brand advocate.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you value customer experience and product quality?