June 30, 2009

4 Tips for Providing Customer Service Recovery

I had lunch at FirstWatch today. Every time I eat there, I end up asking myself, "Why don't I eat here more often?" The food is tasty and appears to be healthy. The people are friendly and their service is generally pretty fast.

Today was a little different. It took us over five minutes to be acknowledged. Then once we were greeted, we had a wait time of another ten minutes. Something I would have been okay with if there hadn't been five open tables clearly visible. Okay, so maybe they're a little short staffed today.

Two other groups of people came in behind us. No one was acknowledging them, so after awhile, I greeted them, added them to the waiting list, and told them it would be about 10 minutes. They offered to tip me, but I politely declined. When we were being seated, I pointed to the last guy I put on the list and asked him to take over my hosting responsibility. He kindly agreed.

When our waitress took our orders, I asked for a large glass of water. My one consistent complaint with FirstWatch is they serve their water in little shot-glass-sized cups. My larger glass never came. I know, they're a little short staffed today.

There were four of us for lunch. Two meals came first (of course, mine was not one of them). Then a few minutes later the other two came. The food was good as usual. This was the first time I did not ask, "How come I don't eat here more often?"

When I was paying my bill, the cashier asked, "Was everything alright?"

I gave my best Larry David impersonation and responded, "Eh. You guys were a little off your game today."

Without skipping a beat he handed me back my money and said, "Then today is on me."

ME: "It wasn't that bad. I'll pay for my meal."

HIM: "No, sir. If you aren't satisfied, it's on us."

ME: "I appreciated that. But I had a good meal, and this is a fair price for it. Normally, I'm very pleased when I come in here, and today you were clearly understaffed. It wasn't the same experience I normally get, but it won't stop me from coming back. It's fair that I should pay."

He reluctantly took my money and apologized once again for today's worse than usual service. What really impressed me was how responsive he was to my honest evaluation of the experience. Best of all, he gave me a quick reminder lesson in how to recover from less than standard service.

  1. Asked how my experience was and really cared about my answer.
  2. Was empowered to make me happy.
  3. Acted quickly.
  4. Sincerely apologized.
What's the best example of customer service recovery you've experienced?

June 21, 2009

3 Ways to Give Your Tweets Extra Bird Bacon

One of the reasons I find Conan's Twitter Tracker funny, is because the tweets he features are so lame. Now, people will follow celebrities no matter how lame their tweets are because, well, they're celebrities. For the rest of us here are 3 ways to keep your tweets filled with extra bird bacon:

1. BE RELEVANT - offer a helpful tip, a compelling link, or other valuable resource.
Not Cool: Using as many trending topics as possible in your tweet to show up on current searches.

2. ENGAGE OTHERS - ask questions, answer questions, respond, or retweet.
Not Cool: Asking others to RT your message.

3. USE HUMOR - doesn't have to make others laugh out loud, just smile.
Not Cool: Tweeting old one-liners.

In his book Twitter Power, Joel Comm divides tweets into two types: broadcasts and conversations. The celebrities I've seen seem to focus on more broadcasts, and far too many businesses on Twitter fall in the same trap. They could both be more interesting with a little less broadcast and a little more conversation.

June 20, 2009

Ford Flex vs Mini Cooper

Here's the review of our test drive of the Ford Flex. I really enjoyed the Flex and its smooth, quiet, comfortable ride. The Sony sound system rocks, and the kids loved the sky windows and the build in refrigerator. But most importantly, here's how it compared to my Mini Cooper:

If you would like a more detailed view of some of the Flex's features, check out David Lee King's review of the exact same Flex.

June 11, 2009

Ford Flex Water Balloon Ambush

Here is the first of our videos from our Ford Flex test drive. This one is inspired from the American Idol Top 11 Ford music video, a video they apparently don't want you to share, because they make embedding it very difficult. If you would like to read more specifics about the Ford Flex, please check out David Lee King's Review. But for now, enjoy our little parody:

June 8, 2009

Ford Flexing

This weekend we had the pleasure of test driving the new Ford Flex thanks to Social Media Group and Ford Motor Company.  I asked on Twitter if anyone had any clever suggestions for "special" tests we should run on the Flex.  That's when @erindowney introduced me to @davidleeking because he had just tested the exact same Flex (no lie) a few weeks before us.    

David wrote a nice overview of the process and listed several reasons why he accepted the Ford Flex challenge.  His were far more nobel than mine.  I just thought is sounded like fun.  And it was.  The car was delivered right to our house on Friday, so Gina and I could take it to Jazzoo.  

Then we spent the weekend comparing it to my Mini Cooper and shooting an American Idol Ford music video parody.  My goal this week is to get those videos edited as soon as possible as for my next few blog posts.