Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Customer Service: A Study in Contrasts

My last post, "Indifferent Strokes from Business Folks",dealt with the poor customer service that I received from Sky Cable and how difficult it can be to get for many (most?) companies in the Philippines to take customer complaints seriously.

But that is not always the case. 

On  Oct.10 I purchased a take out order consisting of a pork liempo and pork barbecue stick meal at Reyes Barbecue which is a local chain that specializes in grilled native dishes.   Each item came with a packet of atsara (papaya relish). It turns out that the contents of both packets were spoiled. I returned to the store to notify the manager, but there was none on duty. So I told a line employee instead about the matter and emphasized that their entire supply of this product is likely inedible,

I wasn't  asking for my money back as the item in question was just a small part of the purchase. Yet I felt that the restaurant should be made aware of this quality control problem. My thinking was this time it was just a bad batch of atsara, which was easily identifiable even without opening the packet. But next time a customer might unknowingly wind up with an order that has a much more serious food safety problem, such as bad meat.

For good measure I went to the Reyes website and filed a narrative of my issue  in the "Contact Us" option.  However, I didn't really expect anything to come of it, which has been my experience in filing complaints or making inquiries with other businesses this way.  Imagine my surprise when just a few hours later I received a reply from the manager/owner of the franchise where I had made the purchase.  She apologized profusely for the incident which she acknowledged was inexcusable and said that the employee whom I originally discussed the matter had indeed brought it to her attention, but she didn't know how to reach me as I didn't leave any contact information at the restaurant. She even offered  to furnish  a new order of the above items on the house.   I took her up on it, and this time everything in the order was fine, including the atsara which was fresh and crispy.  

In short, a strong indication of a company's integrity and reliability is not just the service that it provides for customers in the regular course of day to day business but moreover how they respond when they've made a mistake. The respective attitudes of  Sky Cable and Reyes Barbecue in this type of situation are as different as night and day as is their worthiness of patronage by the public..

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