Monday, April 19, 2010

Is A Great Product/Service an Excuse for Bad Customer Service?

Sorry for the lack of posts lately but I have been busier than a one legged man in an arse kicking contest … Ok, back to the blog.

Zeffirelli is a cracker Italian family restaurant known for its down to earth, delicious food and generous sizes at great prices. They have their marketing mix (the 4 Ps anyway, not really the 7 Ps of customer service as you’ll see as you read on") pretty much bang on and as a result they are always busy.

I rang them two Friday’s ago and is often the case with a busy restaurant the person answering the phone quickly said “please hold”. That’s cool, I know they are busy and appreciate they answered the phone (after all, it took about 10 goes to get through as it was constantly engaged).

So I held.

And held.

For about 10 minutes.

That doesn’t seem to long but when it is a Friday night, and your in your car, wanting to order dinner so you can get home and see your family, and your on you mobile … well it seemed like a year.

I could hear, in the background, other calls being answered and unless they have about 10 lines into the place then people were definitely getting served before me. Then, I am pretty sure I heard one staff member say to another “that phone is off the hook” and then I heard a voice “Hello Zeffirelli, what can I get you?”

I responded with “Mate, I have been on hold for 10 minutes”

“Yeah, sorry about that, we are really busy” (“no shit!” I thought, “It definitely wouldn't have been because you forgot about me would it?”).

“How long for 2 calzones?” I said. “Oh about 25 minutes” he said.

“They’d be almost ready if you had of served me quickly wouldn’t they? Oh ok, I’ll have 2 Calzones thanks” I said

“Home delivery or pick-up?” he asked

“Oh yeah, home delivery, that’ll be better, I can head home and you can drop it off. How much is that?” I asked

“$8.50” he said. Holy shit $8.50 to deliver 2 calzones! But I ordered home delivery anyway. NOTE: Here is a great opportunity to say “Home delivery will be free of charge as a sorry for making you wait 10 minutes on the phone”

I gave him my phone number, my house number and my street. Then I told him my suburb. “Oh we don’t deliver to that suburb” he said.

“Really” I queried, “what does you add say about delivery?”

“I dunno, what does it say?” he asked.

Zeffirelli “It says you deliver all over Canberra and this is definitely the closest store to my suburb” I said. As evidence I present you you a picture/ad from their website.

“Oh, ok, I’ll just check if we can deliver there” and he put down the phone.

By now I had had enough. I hung up.

NOTE: Here is a great opportunity to ring back (remember I gave my number when placing the order) and say “Hi mate, really sorry for stuffing you around, we’ll get your calzones out ASAP and delivery will be free of charge as a sorry for making you wait 10 minutes on the phone and for me not knowing what we promise in our ads.”

Now, this bloke was clearly so busy that he really didn’t care if I got looked after or not. They obviously had a full house and plenty of other orders to fill.

So my question is, and it is a serious one, don’t be too quick to jump to an answer but “Is being so busy, or having such a cracker product/service, an excuse for bad customer service?”

I mean, if you have so much business then does it really matter if you piss a few customers off?


James Duthie said...

F--k no! Few industries are as dependent on word-of-mouth & referrals at the hospitality industry, and I'm certain it's been a huge part of the restaurant's historical success.

Start treating your customers like shit, and they'll stop telling others to go there. It won't happen overnight, but it will happen...

SamanthaJade said...

I work in a busy cafe and overheard a new staff member tell customers the other day "sorry there are no tables and I have other people waiting. Sorry, can't help you". They said they were happy to wait but she still told them she couldn't help them. Those 4 people are extremely important, because next time they'll remember her comments and its business lost forever. 4 customers we will never get back because she didn't even try. And as James said, it won't happen overnight, but eventually word will get around.

Daniel Oyston said...

@James Duthie - sounds like that would make a great line for a shampoo commercial :) - but you are right.

@SamanthaJade - Spot on. Over hearing stuff reminds me of another thing that annoys me (and it almost made it as a post) is when staff members have a go other staff members when you are standing right there! That is just so unprofessional and for some reason I always remember the places it has happened and I feel like they don’t value my custom and my time enough to wait 5 minutes to have the conversation after I have gone.

Unknown said...

Oh, man! That wasn't nice at all! A really good product/service should (or should I say, MUST) provide their customers with some you know, GOOD customer service. I think Zefirelli should get nice and polite call center agents to attend their loyal customers' (like you) food deliveries.