Customer Service: The Little Things Matter

Chipotle Gift Cards

Remember Chipotle?

Almost every Sunday after church, there would be line out the door at the nearest Chipotle in Akron.

True confession: Sometimes I would take the kids out of children’s ministry early to beat the rush. Priorities, people.

Almost every day around lunch time whenever I drove by a Chipotle, it would be packed.

Then the E.Coli outbreak happened. There was actually a confirmed case at the local Chipotle in Akron. The very one we used to go to. Needless to say, we have not gone back since.

Last weekend, we were in a pinch and I decided to go back out into the waters. And with online ordering, I knew I wouldn’t have to wait.

As I drove into the parking lot, I noticed there was no line. Bad sign, but I ignored my Spidey sense. The pre-ordered food wasn’t ready for pick-up (another warning), so they were going to make it right there.

We ordered 3 kids’ meals (all the same) and two salads. As the server was preparing the kids’ meals, I noticed he wasn’t filling up the tray containers. Several times I had to ask for more rice, beans, etc. Finally, the server says, “if you want extra, I’m going to have to charge you extra.”

I said, “I’m not asking for ‘extra,’ I’m asking for what I paid for.”

Needless to say, he did not see it my way. Meanwhile, three of his buddies before me – he was hooking them up fully loaded. I wasn’t part of the club, so my kids had to even out that difference, apparently.

At this point, I decided to take the loss and go home. We had a nice (albeit small) lunch, and no one got sick. Small wins, right? Later that evening, I sent a message to their customer service department recounting our experience.

The very next day I got a call from Chipotle. I was surprised they actually read the message and at how quickly they responded. And it was an actual call. From a real live person. Her name was Jen.

Jen profusely apologized for our experience and let us know they would be using this as a learning opportunity for that store.

A few days later we received free meal cards for 3 kids and 2 adults.

Here’s what impressed me:

  1. Someone listened to me (they actually read the email word for word).
  2. Someone took the time and effort to call and ask for my input (I became part of the solution, not just a problem to fix).
  3. Someone made an effort to make things right (free meal cards).

With so much vying for our consumers’ attention, the only difference between a good customer experience and a bad one are the little things.

Ultimately, what was the cost to Chipotle to make this right? Nominal.

What is the impact to the customer? Unforgettable.

What are the little things that your customers often complain about? Fix those. Click To Tweet

“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” ~ Donald Porter (VP British Airways)

What are the small and incremental changes you can implement that will delight your tribe?

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