I’m a very positive guy. So it|Therefore it saddens me that many of my customer service observations concentrate on bad examples and what not to do. Since I’d rather find and talk about samples of fabulous customer service, it’s become my passion in life to work towards a lot of people believing that customer care generally speaking is quite good (the contrary is now true). Then I’d see great customer support all over the place!
For those who don’t know or don’t live in a state blessed with el Pollo Loco menu, they have the best flame broiled chicken on the planet. I’ve been enjoying it for pretty much 20 years.
However, their customer care varies wildly from store-to-store. Find the wrong store and you may want to strangle a worker or two. Some workers neglect to grasp even the most rudimentary customer service principles.
And after years of searching, I finally found my personal favorite el Pollo Loco franchise. It’s a little farther from my home, but it’s worth heading out of my way to get good service. I even wrote the business and told the district manager how great this store was, especially compared to other branches. Things have been going great, they knew me there, and I loved eating their chicken. Unfortunately, I needed an experience yesterday evening that has got me to reevaluate these positive feelings.
So, last night I needed some Pollo Loco chicken for dinner following a late movie. I called my personal favorite location, with all the best service in the city, to set a takeout order. I bought through right after the phone rang for nearly 2 minutes. An employee breathlessly answered the phone and after that asked if I could hold. “Sure!” I responded. Then, I waited, and waited, and waited.
I drove 8 miles in LA traffic, arrived at the store, and walked in with the telephone still ringing. I asked to speak to the manager. He was on the register. I assumed that they had just forgotten me, that was not true. That they had decided not to answer my call since they were busy. Therefore they let me sit, and sit, and sit down on hold.
Given that they knew me, I asked them if they could begin to see the phone was on hold. Yup. Oooops. I told them it absolutely was me, and this I had been on hold for nearly 10 minutes. What did the girl do? She walked up to the phone and hung it. Not just a word of apology. After speaking to the worker, I went to the conclusion in the line to wait patiently my choose speak to the manager. As I was in line, I could observe that the worker as well as the manager were speaking about the call, my wait, as well as the whole mess.
I reach the front in the line as well as the manager says for me, “Hello, how have you been?” Seriously?! He already knew I had been upset, yet he didn’t make his first words “I am just so sorry for the mess.”
I told him the complete story, particularly the part about being hung up on without a word of apology. He turns to the person who hung high on me, says something, and she comes over and apologizes. He gives me some lame excuses about not understanding regarding the call, blah, blah, blah. It never occurs to him to apologize, he just denies responsibility for that actions of his troops.
I ask the manager why his employee waited to apologize until he told her to. And, it gets ugly. He lies for me. He says she doesn’t speak English perfectly and thus she didn’t say anything. Which doesn’t sound right, she did a bbquiq job speaking to me and apologizing once he’d told her to.
Sorry to state, I used to be angry and left without my chicken and my appetite.
Now, this is actually the moral of the story. When you screw up, just apologize. Then apologize again. Everyone. On a regular basis. Assume responsibilty for annoying a fantastic, el Pollo Loco restaurant. You screwed up. So does everyone. Just apologize and after that take action extra to make it right. In cases like this, buy me some chicken, give me a free of charge coupon, or anything else to really make it right. Chicken and rice costs him a nickel. My business will be worth about $1000 per year, minimum. Is saving that biz worth an apology along with a little chicken? Yes.