Back in college I took a class on hospitality and customer service for some reason. In this class we read the book Raving Fans by Sheldon Bowles and Ken Blanchard. The book’s message was telling companies/brands to have great customer service so that they have “raving fans” rather than customers.
Let me start off by saying that I am not a bamboozler. I do not lie to get free stuff. The stories below are completely true and this is a teaching moment for you — my fans. Only use this method of reaching out to brands/companies if you had a less than wonderful experience.
Have you ever had a bad experience with a product or service? Maybe a slightly inconvenient experience? We all have and I’m here to tell you that as long as it’s a small accident you don’t have to go public with it. Don’t be like Topanga’s husband who tried to say there were shrimp tails in his cereal when they were probably just funny shaped sugar strips (I actually didn’t keep up with this story so I have no idea what they ended up being).
Most companies today have a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and possibly multiple social media profiles. They’re mostly run by ad agency interns. This is why when something goes wrong I find a company’s Twitter profile and send them a DM (Direct Message). It’s also good to send a picture, when possible.
This is the story of three different customer experiences I had with three different brands — one bad, one slightly inconvenient and one that I’m not even sure affected me in any sort of way. It’s also a story of redemption and how these three companies stepped up and admitted they were wrong and made it up to me.
THE BAD: FRESH STEAKS
I shop at The Fresh Market weekly and I have stated this before in other posts. Earlier this month I bought two steaks (Filet Mignon) to make for dinner for my girlfriend and myself. It was Easter weekend, I purchased them on Friday and by Sunday they had transformed into rotten, ugly zombie meat. I had to toss them.
I’m not really sure how long Steak should keep in the fridge, I usually freeze them if I’m not cooking and eating them within one or two days. I would guess two to three days would be the max.
My next visit to the Fresh Market I asked someone in the meat department how long a Filet Mignon should last in the fridge, they told me a whole week — 7 days! I thought that was a crazy thing to say, but instead I just said, “Sure, ok.” and nodded my head.
I didn’t want to be a Karen and talk to the manager of the store, although I have met him and he’s a nice dude. Instead I went to Twitter and DM-ed the Fresh Market directly.
I also mentioned that I was told that a steak would keep fresh in the fridge for up to one week. They immediately made things right and sent me a $25 gift card. The two steaks were probably somewhere between $10 and $20, so I think this was a good job by them.
At no point was I going to stop going to Fresh Market, it’s still my favorite grocery store. And even after having this and a few other small problems from time to time, they have always been great about making it up to me.
THE SLIGHTLY INCONVENIENT: WHERE’S MY BOLOGNA, OSCAR?
The second experience was with a classic Lunchables meal (Bologna and Cheese). I do eat more Lunchables than someone in their 30s should eat, but Lunchables are always a quick, easy and delicious meal.
There I was enjoying my Lunchables cracker sandwiches. Yes, I double up and instead of making six one layer cracker stackers I make three sandwiches instead with two of each item.
Cracker + Meat + Cheese + Meat + Cheese + Cracker.
I was on my last cracker sandwich when I realized that there had only been five slices of Bologna this whole time instead of the usual six. My last cracker sandwich was a disappointment.
Cracker + Cheese + Meat + Cheese + Cracker.
Yes, it was still good but I wasn’t satisfied ending my lunch(able) on an incomplete sandwich. I went to Twitter.
I mentioned a FREE Nintendo Switch there because until December of 2020 Lunchables was holding a free Nintendo Switch contest which I entered multiple times. This is the reason why I’ve eaten so many Lunchables recently. Also, I probably would have eaten the same amount of Lunchables without a contest.
Lunchables sent me a nice letter and a coupon for $3 off of a Lunchables to make up for my incomplete lunch(able) that day. I hope Lunchables don’t cost more than $3? Either way it doesn’t matter, this coupon has expired since I was holding onto it just for this post. Oops.
I guess I should just frame the coupon and put it up on the wall now that it’s expired. This will show people my friendship with the Oscar Mayer company.
THE I’M NOT SURE WHAT TO CALL IT: NOT ENOUGH M&M’S
The last instance wasn’t really a problem at all. I was truly just informing the Keebler elves that I had purchased a bag of Keebler M&M cookies and every cookie in the bag either had one or two M&M’s only.
I have eaten tons of one or two M&M cookies in my day. It’s usually only a few of the cookies that don’t have the proper amount of M&M’s. When it’s a small percentage of the cookies that are missing M&M’s, it makes them special. When the whole bag has zero cookies with the proper three M&M’s, something has gone completely wrong.
I felt it was my duty to inform the Keebler elves of their mistake. I didn’t want other people to go M&M-less too.
Even though I wasn’t trying to get them to send me anything, the Keebler elves still sent me not one, but two coupons for their family of products. These just came in the other day so let’s hope I use them before they expire.
These are just three small experiences I’ve had like this of many. I’ve reached out to many companies with feedback and complaints and have usually received some help . I’m still a fan of these three companies. I will continue to shop at the Fresh Market weekly, and I have many Keebler Elf cookies and Lunchable to eat in my lifetime.