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"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

How to inspire Customer Loyalty

Otherwise known as how I became a Wildflower Bread customer for life.

On Thursday, November 29th, the boys stayed home from school and I took them to see their doctor who diagnosed a virus. I wasn't feeling well either, but we needed prescriptions, so we went directly to Target, and then did a large grocery trip while we were waiting.

When we are out and about and need to eat, we often go to Wildflower. Although the prices are a bit higher than fast food, the quality can be counted on. I can also count on them to avoid the ingredients I don't want my children eating, and especially the FDC Food dyes that Konal is so highly allergic to.

This is starting to sound like a commercial. It is not. In fact, on the day in question, we decided we were hungry and stopped at Wildflower to grab a quick lunch to go, so the groceries didn't spoil. We made our order, the Salmon Caesar salad for me, and kid sandwiches for them. I also got a pomegranate freeze, because I find them tummy soothing and some bread for the house.

It was just before 1, and a peak time. I don't mind the busyness of the store, but having led a vaguely dissolute life, I am a wee bit hard of hearing. It is mainly an issue with background noise. When you order a To Go meal, they call your name, so I stationed the boys to listen and we stood around the dessert area with our drinks and purchased bread in the bag.

And waited.

And waited.

The crowds ebbed and flowed, and I continued to watch the staging area. After a short time there were a couple of to go bags up there, but no one even really looked at them, so I assumed they were for order ahead folks.

The kids were getting restless and I was having to break up fights. I was hungry, they were hungry and none of us felt well.

After 20 minutes, I finally asked what was taking so long with our order. The cashier went to the staging area, and after a quick chat with the waitstaff, came back with one of the bags I had seen earlier. She advised me that they said they had called my name.

I told her that this was not cool. I had seen how long that bag had been sitting out, and warm salmon and cold lettuce do not do well over time. To her credit, she offered to remake everything, but I had imminent disaster to curb from bored children, plus dairy in the car getting warm.

So I went home and fumed. And fumed some more as I tried to eat my favorite salad and it was rather gross. I did something I rarely do. I wrote an e-mail to the company while it was still fresh in my mind. I am much more the type to give something a day to make sure I didn't overreact.

From: Krista Long
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 1:47 PM
To: Customer Service
Subject: Unhappy with Litchfield & McDowell Location

Today, at 12:57 pm, I completed a to go order for me and my children
at the Goodyear location. I ordered a Salmon Cesar and the boys each
a ham sandwich. We went because we had groceries in the car and the
children (and I) weren't feeling well. 20 minutes later, I was
extremely tired from standing and waiting, and asked a cashier during
the lull what happened to our order. It was ready, and apparently had
been for a while. The waitress claimed she called me, and while I
believed her, we had come in during a busy time and it was very loud
there. I had been paying attention, but could have conceivably not
heard my name, especially since we were standing by the desserts.
But, I stood there, with a loaf of bread in my hand, and my drink
waiting through quiet and busy times and not once did anyone call
again, or even check on the bag I had noticed by then on the counter.

When they gave me my food, I told them I had been standing there the
entire time, and was very unhappy. They did offer to remake the food,
but I could not stretch my children's patience any longer. So now I
am sitting here trying to eat a soggy and entirely unsatisfactory
salad, and fuming.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know, since I am a regular customer, and
am seriously rethinking your facility as a choice. Thank you.

--
Krista Long
http://www.kkorner.net
"Bringing up a family should be an adventure,
not an anxious discipline in which everybody is constantly graded for
performance.
~ Milton R. Sapirstein (Paradoxes of Everyday Life)


After that, I pretty much forgot about it. Then today, I receive this e-mail:

Dear Ms. Long,

First I am very sorry for the lateness of this email. Responding to
your concern this late is not acceptable customer service and I truly
apologize for that. I am also sorry for what happened with your take
out order last Thursday. I completely understand how frustrated you
were; I have been in a situation like that before and I was just as
frustrated. We take pride in delivering outstanding food and service and
clearly this was not the case for you. Again, I apologize.

Louis Basile, the founder of our company would like the opportunity to
speak with you to personally apologize and discuss how an instance like
this will be prevented. Please contact him at your convenience on his
cell phone 602-XXX-XXXX or later this evening at home 480-XXX-XXXX.

In addition, we would like to send you a formal letter as a token of our
apology; may I please have an address to where that may be sent? I
would appreciate it greatly.

Again, I am very sorry for the incident that took place at our Goodyear
location. I hope that if given the opportunity we can show that our
take out service is far superior to what it was last Thursday.

We appreciate your patronage.

Sincerely,
Kristen

Kristen Esposite
Wildflower Bread Company
Um, Wow? I am impressed, and I don't impress easily. I don't know if I will actually call Mr. Basile, because I am shy about things like that. But I did something much more proactive. I went and got me some Pomegranate Freeze and Sourdough bread on my way home from Konal's school.


Bread Love....
Maybe it was all just a bad dream....