By Kathleen Wright
A few weeks ago I was going through a perfectly normal burger craving about lunchtime and thought (to myself obviously) that Champps sounded pretty good. Knowing that I would have to swing over to the ATM before I picked up my lunch, I gave a call as I was leaving, and Shocker #1: was told that my order would be ready in 45 minutes.
Thinking (again, to myself) that they must have to go out back and knock off another cow for the lunch rush, I figured it would be well worth the wait for a nice hot 1/2-pound of protein, nicely arranged on a toasty bun with waffle fries…
I waited the allotted 45 minutes, zipped in to pick up my lunch (and an extra order of fries for another team member), and was pleased to have to only wait another Shocker #2: 10 minutes. The snappy little take-out staffer explained to me that he was making sure that I’d been allotted an appropriate amount of fries in the separate order for my carb-starved associate.
Finally, an hour later, I’m on my way back up the highway with my growling stomach and the shakes from low blood sugar. I hit the exit ramp, and think to sneak a couple fries from my nice, hot, fresh burger in a box while I’m waiting for the light. It’s at this point that I’m presented with Shocker #3: not a nice, hot burger cooked medium with all the extras and those tasty waffle fries, but a cold multi-lunchmeat-greasy-cheese-party-toothpick club looking sandwich with soggy chips. My carb-deficient buddy however received EXTRA piping hot fries in his order…
So, now I sat down with my lunch hour gone, eating someone else’s cold sandwich and soggy chips due to starvation setting in. Absolute dejection was taking over. I took the time while picking through my lousy lunch to submit my thoughts about my not-so-festive experience to Champps via their corporate website. Less than two hours later I received this response:
Hello Kate, I would like to introduce myself as a completely embarrassedmanager of Champps in Troy. My mouth is agape after reading your (very well crafted, by the way) letter. I could try to explain, but my words would certainly not change what a horrific experience you had in this restaurant a short time ago. I am so sorry for the events and I am sorry that I wasn't able to get to the phone. It does happen occasionally where a to-go order goes bad. What bugs me the most is that it is a to-go and as you said you are so happy to settle in to what should be a wonderful lunch and it's all wrong. If it happens in the restaurant the worst thing that happens is we fix it and it takes an extra 10 minutes before you are eating the right thing. When we screwed up a to-go, it pains me because there are so many other variables in your satisfaction.(driving, time allowance, etc.) I can't make this experience today any better. I can work on tomorrow though. We owe you that. Please send your address to me and I will make sure thatwe get something in the mail to encourage you to try us again. As you said you would normally suggest this place for lunch so you must know that usually we have much higher standards than the muck you received today.
Shocker #4 was in my mailbox three days later: a $25 gift card to replace my screwed up $8 burger. Not only did Champps provide me with a very proficient apology but went above and beyond replacing my lunch. To their credit, that was one tasty burger! (…and wings… and cake…)
Responding with a sense of urgency is the ante to play. And it’s the DIFF.