What were they thinking???

Twice in the past 2 days, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of trying to buy online and being less than successful. 

First, a food company, who will remain nameless, started “requiring” catering orders to be entered online back in April.  I complied, and ended up with no food until our meeting was almost over.  The online process had sent my order to a store that didn’t usually deliver catering, not to my usual store who had served me well for years (when I ordered directly from them).  I called the corporate office to give them my “feedback” and was assured that the problem would be corrected, and I would have no further trouble.  I was also told (although I didn’t ask) that I would receive a credit for my trouble.  The credit has yet to show up on my credit card bill. 

Worse, though, I ordered online again for my June meeting.  This time, I verified on the email receipt that the order was scheduled to go to my store.  I knew the corporate folks had my order, because they called to verify my credit card.  Guess what…no food again.  We called the store directly, and they immediately pulled stuff together and delivered it quickly.  They had never gotten the order from corporate.

So, I called corporate again to let them know their system had failed miserably.  I told my story to the customer service guy.  He said he was really sorry.  I told him I was done with online ordering and would go directly to my store from now on.  Here’s where my mouth dropped in disbelief…he said “Ma’am, you really should order online because it’s the most efficient way and most likely to get your order delivered appropriately.”  Really????  I couldn’t help myself.  I said, “that has certainly NOT been my experience.  After two strike outs like this, if I have to order online, I’ll find another caterer.”

What WAS he thinking?  Had he even listened to my story?  It sounded like something from a bad script and did NOT leave me feeling like I had been handled appropriately.  He said someone would call to follow up with me in the next 4 to 5 days.  We’ll see.

Okay, snafu number two.  My family and I try to go to the Melting Pot every year to celebrate the coming together of our blended group.  (We went the first time the night before our wedding as our little rehearsal dinner when the kids were 9, 10, 11, and 12.)  They are all going to be with us at the beach in July, so I went online to make a reservation at the Myrtle Beach location.  According to the online system, we couldn’t get a table for 7 people for 31 days.  I was about to go to Plan B and pick another restaurant, but thought I’d call to see if maybe their online system wasn’t quite up to date.

The guy at the Melting Pot was able to immediately get me a reservation for the night I wanted at the time I wanted for 7 people–“no problem,” he said.  I told him of my online experience and that he almost lost a sale because of the system.  His response, “Oh, I know it does that.  We don’t let people make reservations for big groups online.”  Wait a minute…he KNEW his largest tables couldn’t be booked online, and he didn’t see that as a problem????  Seems like it would have made sense to put an alert window when someone entered more than 4 people in the party–“Call us to accommodate your large group.”  But, no.  They just said, “yeah, we know.”

Online systems are supposed to make life easier, but they only do that if they WORK!  Have you checked your online systems lately to see if they work as expected?  Order something from yourself and see what it feels like — if you don’t like how it feels, fix it!

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