Posted tagged ‘online ordering’

What were they thinking???

June 29, 2011

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!


Do your customer feedback processes work?

April 27, 2011

I had an interesting experience yesterday that I thought I’d share.  It brought up several business concepts that we should all think about.  Here’s the scoop (with a little background to give you context)…

Five times a year for the past 3 years, I’ve ordered breakfast for a meeting I hold from the same establishment.  It’s a franchised company, and the folks at “my store” have always been super great!  This time, when I called to give them my order a week ahead, they let me know that I should now order through their online catering portal, as this would make it easier for us all.  I thanked them for the information and went to the portal.  It WAS easy!  I could click on what I wanted, put in my date, time and delivery info, and, voila!, my order was placed.  It even had a button so I could make it a “standing order” for my upcoming meetings.  Great!

Not so much.  The morning of my meeting, the food didn’t show up on time like it had every time before.  I finally called my folks, and they hadn’t gotten the order that I placed online.  Long story short, there was another franchisee in the area who had been sent this order from the corporate catering portal.  They were not so good.  The food finally showed up over an hour late.

I went by my store to tell them the corporate portal was costing them business.  I didn’t want the other franchise store to get my order ever again — I wanted MY STORE!  The manager gave me the corporate phone number where I could call to get them to designate his store as MY STORE for future orders.  So, I called.  The youngish sounding guy in customer service listening to my story, but didn’t seem all that interested.  I suggested that they should give the orderer a choice of locations to route the order to.  His comment “that’s not how we do it.”

Wait, there’s more.  I got an email later that day from the Regional Sales Manager for this franchise thanking me for my catering order.  It was obvious he had NO IDEA that I had experienced a problem.  So, I called him.  I shared my story and he asked lots of good questions.  He seemed to be writing everything down.  I told him I wasn’t calling to be mean, but to give feedback that I thought he might find helpful.  He seemed to accept it as it was intended.

Turns out, my original call should have resulted in a “code red” through his system, so that he would know there had been a problem and could see what was being done to resolve it.  The original guy had only put in the system that I wanted to “update my profile.”  The Regional guy was livid!!!  It was a great lesson to him about how his internal system was being used, and he wasn’t happy.

He asked if I had been offered a discount or other apology gift.  I told him that I had not, and that I wasn’t asking for that.  He said “you’re getting it anyway!”  He was very apologetic and promised to look into why the system didn’t work as it should have.  He said he and a few others would likely call me again to talk through it and offer more suggestions.  I told him I’d be happy to help.  I also made sure he knew that MY STORE had always been GREAT at meeting my needs.

Here’s the lesson, in case you didn’t get it.  Just setting up a customer feedback process isn’t enough.  You have to test it, monitor it, train people in the reason for it and make sure it helps your customers.