Saturday, April 18, 2009

Great Customer Service

I know this is normally a food blog, but I was hardly home last week to cook anything blog worthy. So I just wanted to take a few minutes to point out some really good customer service I encountered in the last week.

The first one started with really bad customer service on a local level, and got saved by a national level. I took my kids to Cici's Pizza - you know, the really cheap buffet place. Well, they have a promotion where they are putting stickers on pennies to win free buffets and such. They leave the pennies in the parking lot and you are supposed to pick them up and bring them inside to redeem them. We picked up one that said "Free kids' buffet." Simple, right? We go inside (one adult, two kids) and hand it to the cashier who then says we need to drop it in a fishbowl and hit the target inside to get the free buffet. What's up with that - I had not seen that stipulation anywhere on line or in the store. Long story short, no free kids buffet, long line behind us - all presumably with pennies. We eat there anyway - because you can't explain to 7 and 5 year olds why you're not getting pizza.

So I go home and send a letter to a very generic e-mail address. About three days later I get not one, but two personal (not computer generated) responses stating that the promotion does not work that way and they are sorry the employee did not understand. The fishbowl was for pennies that said "Enter for a chance to win" a free adult buffet. One letter simply apologized, and the other said to contact them for a free meal for the whole family. So I applaud Cici's corporate for responding personally to letters, but really fault someone at the local level for not understanding the promotion.

Next is A friend of mine is president of the local NCJW and I offered to research e-mail marketing programs for her. E-mail marketing companies allow you to create e-mail newsletters with their templates and send to a big list, then you can track who opened it and who clicked on what. (Some others are Constant Contact, MailChimp, SubscriberMail and MyEmma.) I've used Vertical Response for personal businesses in the past and their program is easy to use and reasonably priced (by the e-mail, not by the month). Well they also have an AMAZING program for non-profits. If you have a certified non-profit program, you can get a free account with them and send up to 10,000 e-mails per month for free. I signed them up, filled out the correct paperwork, and sure enough, the program is completely free for real non-profts. And it doesn't stop there. I received not one, but two personal (not computer generated) phone calls - one when I initially signed up and another when we were accepted for the non-profit program. Both said thank you, asked if we needed help and left a name and phone number to call (on my answering machine, as I was not home).

I haven't decided yet if I want to go back to Cici's. Not because I was traumatized by the experience, but this is Chicago afterall. There is real pizza to be had. And I would recommend Vertical Response to anyone looking for a great e-mail marketing program.

Hopefully I'll be back to making some delicious dinners next week. I'm really working hard on getting back to low carbs and I really want to start walking - if it will ever stay warm in Chicago for more than one day.


Nikki the Foodie of Lobster Gram said...

That is really good customer service from such a large chain, but I agree...when you live in Chicago there is much better pizza to be had. I have always wondered how places like Pizza Hut & Dominoes stay open here. Especially when there is Lou Malnati's.

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