Customer Service / Online Marketing – One Rock at a Time

How to move mountains – eCommerce & eMarketing strategy for success!

My cup doth not runneth over… and neither did my bowl the other night at California Pizza Kitchen.

To my regular readers who may think I’ve turned all “culinary” due to some recent posts’  focus on food and cuisine – I offer no apologies, I am guided by experiences in real life, and we all need to eat, don’t we? (Don’t answer if you’re on one of those body-flushing binges of pureed slop and green tea enemas, I don’t want to know. Seriously.)

Any hoo… this happened last week here in beautiful downtown Encino, at the local CPK, a mixture of California cuisine (whatever that is) and Italian pizza house, with a distinct twist of “whatever we can get away with“.

I love their split pea and barley soup. It’s pea-y and has lumps of carrots and barley and is (normally) thick enough to be filling and hot enough to “warm the cockles of your soul” – it’s that good IMHO.

So I order it and it arrives.

As the waiter puts the bowl down on the table, I immediately see something is wrong.

Whereby in “normal” circumstances my “bowl runneth over“, in this particular case, the ‘soup line’ was a clear 1/4 inch below the rim of the bowl.

Being the loud-mouthed Englishman I am, I immediately said to the waiter “Are you guys cutting back on the soup, or what?”

To which… he laughed. He LAUGHED! He freakin’ laughed

As I’m used to misunderstandings and certain blank stares due to my accent, I passed it off as “he-didn’t-understand-I’m-pissed” and asked to talk to the manager.

Manager comes over, and I ask him if they’re offering smaller portions of soup, due to the economy, an unannounced pea shortage, or a smaller ladle...

He said “No, but make sure next time when you come in they fill it to the top.”

Now I must add, I had taken a few spoonfuls, but the ‘soup line’ was still obviously ‘volume challenged’ and this manager appeared to understand my English fine.

I was out for a quiet dinner with my mother-in-law, so didn’t want to make too much of a scene.

Ate my soup. Came home. Called CPK customer service.

The well-trained customer service rep was suitably aghast at my lack of soup fulfillment and promised to look into it and get back to me. I’ll update with any update or resolution.

Lesson of the day.

The best solution to good customer service is often the simplest. Fix the problem. Then and there.

Offering to fill my bowl, or give me another bowl would have saved my ire (though, arguably given me nothing to blog about).

Online, it’s not always easy to fix a problem as it happens. Most interactions are live but without life (human interaction). The next best thing is to offer a toll-free support number, and actually have someone there to answer the calls when they come in. After that, as far as email support, set an expectation and exceed it. i.e. post you respond within 2 business hours and get back to them in 1 OR call them back.

Let my soup experience be a learning experience for better customer experience.

Fix a problem as soon as you can. Don’t leave your customers high, dry and starved for soup!

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