Hey babes! Today’s post is a little different than what you usually get from me, but there’s been something weighing heavily on my mind lately and I feel like I have to use my blog as a platform to express these feelings. I know many of my friends and followers share the same frustration, so instead of playing the “safe” route, I decided I would create this post to speak what’s truly on my mind.
Let’s just say that customer service across the board these days seems to really have hit an all-time low. Whether it be retail stores, restaurants, medical services, online help, etc. I’m noticing more and more that companies are acting like they truly could care less about their customers, and that is insane to me. Every job I’ve had since I first started working in high school taught me to have the “customer is always right” mentality. Even if you know they are wrong, guess what? They are either right or they are no longer going to be your customer, so you’re making that choice based on how you respond to their needs.
I’m a pretty easygoing person as anyone close to me can tell you, but when something I spent my hard-earned money on is not up to par with what I’m paying for, I believe in speaking up. Often times, and in the majority of my past experiences, the company will always apologize if something is not up to par and offer a way to correct or make up for the problem that I’ve encountered. To be honest, the mere fact that they recognize what I am saying to be true and seem truly sorry makes me happy to give them a second chance because I know that everyone makes mistakes. However, when a company makes me feel as if I am inconveniencing them with my requests and blows me off, that really pisses me off to the fullest. Here are two instances where this happened lately:
*Disclaimer: I am not specifically writing this post to vent, but more to warn you about two companies that I found handled food safety issues terribly wrong. If they are not concerned with what they are serving customers enough to make it right, I think you ought to have a fair warning before you spend your hard-earned money with them as well.*
Here’s a shortened version of what happened to me a few weeks ago at Panera…I had to wait a total of 45 minutes to receive my 1-person lunch order at their US-1 & 136th St Miami location. After suspecting the order was somehow forgotten about and being reassured by an employee that it was just busy, I tried to be patient. After 40 minutes I asked the manager who discovered my order was “lost” and went to make it for me herself right then and there. I did appreciate her urgency, however she didn’t offer anything to make up for the fact that I’d basically been at Panera for an hour total when I was trying to pick up a quick lunch. I could have sat down at the Ale House across the street if I wanted to actually wait that long.
There were a few other disturbing things I witnessed. First of all, there were about 3 employees standing around chatting when they could’ve been helping out the busy employees actually making the orders. One of them actually dropped a bag of chips on the floor where all of their dirty sneakers were standing. She then picked up the bag, put it right on top of a freshly made sandwich, and proceeded to serve it to a customer at a nearby table. She served them food from the ground! Eww! Anyways, after all of this I was so frustrated (and late getting back to work!) that I had to leave in a hurry. I sent them an email to bring this experience to their attention, and the employee who corresponded with me could not have been more rude. Here are screenshots of our convo so you can see for yourself:
I simply cannot believe this woman is working in the customer service industry. She basically told me, in different words, that I should mind my own business about the unsanitary food practices and there was no way to compensate me for lost time. I know for a fact that anyone can easily send me a gift card, coupon, etc to refund me instead of being so stingy and rude about it. If it is not in her power that is fine, but I asked to be connected with someone higher up who could assist me and she couldn’t even do that.
Needless to say, I’ll never be going to a Panera Bread again. This is just absurd and I can’t believe they have someone like this responsible for “servicing” their customers.
This one’s a little different. Nobody was rude to me, but that’s because it was so hard to even get in contact with someone in the first place. Here’s the gist: I ordered a curry chicken meal for lunch one day and took home the half that I didn’t eat at the restaurant. Upon going to eat it later at home, I found that one of my pieces of chicken looked like this:
This is clearly wayyyy undercooked and would probably make me very sick. I had already eaten half of the dish earlier in the day, so now I was freaking out wondering if I was going to get food poisoning. Cheesecake Factory is a pretty dimly lit restaurant, so if the chicken I ate there was pink I wouldn’t necessarily have noticed. I obviously threw out the rest of the meal and wrote them an email. They never responded, so I tried to email again a week later. After still no response, I tried to reach them via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I even sent the photo so that they could see I had a valid reason to be reaching out. Nobody answered me anywhere.
At that point, I pretty much decided it was hopeless and I’d just never set foot in their restaurants again. A couple weeks later in the mail I received an envelope with a letter from them apologizing and it included a $15 gift card. This isn’t necessarily the worst thing they could’ve done, but it was pretty insulting to me. First of all, $15 is chump change to a nationally successful franchise. That’s what I would expect from someone like McDonald’s or Taco Bell, not from a sit-down restaurant where my meal cost more than that once you include tax and tip. It’s not like I complained about a slow server or food that wasn’t my ideal flavor. I legitimately could’ve gotten salmonella and they thought that throwing $15 at me weeks later would make up for that. I don’t think so!
To be honest, I’ve had some more bad experiences with customer service since then, and it just feels like July was “Treat Your Customers Badly” month or something! I don’t know what is going on, but I hope companies will improve soon. They have to realize that we as consumers are very brand loyal, but our loyalty can be lost with just one bad experience. There are now two restaurants I will never spend money at again, not to mention that I’ve shared these experiences with those around me and they probably will not be visiting either.
No matter what, don’t ever let anyone treat you badly without sticking up for yourself and asking them to make good on what they messed up. You deserve what you pay for, nothing less! I hope this post has inspired you guys to pay extra attention to how companies treat you and remain loyal to those that treat you well time and time again. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something is not up to par! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic too! Leave me a comment letting me know what you think and if there’s any brands that have treated you especially well or poorly lately.