Friday, February 29, 2008

Free Money, Coupons & Products thanks to Customer Service

This week was beneficial for us, thanks to customer service from a restaurant and toy manufacturer. Today in the mail, I got $20 to Chili's restaurant. Yesterday, I got a TMX Special Edition Elmo. And, thanks to one of my readers, Carolyn C, I was reminded of the importance of this article and the benefits to us, the consumers!

How did this happen? Well, due to two different situations.

First, we went to Chili's two weekends ago with the whole family. It was all 5 of us. It was a Saturday night and it was busy. We knew that. But, we had gift certificates from Christmas we wanted to use. So, I went up to the hostess and put our name in. She asked how many, and I said 5. We need 4 chairs and one high chair. I thought I had explained myself correctly, but I guess not. She told us the wait was approximately 40 minutes. And, we stayed.

Well, about a half hour into the wait, we noticed that people coming in after us were getting seated with parties our same size or less. But, I wasn't too worried, because the hostess had said 40 minutes. Well, at an hour I went to the stand to ask. This was a LONG time for 3 small kids to sit in a waiting area!! Well, they told me I probably still had another 20 minutes because they were waiting for another large party to leave. Large party? I was confused. Everytime we eat there, they put us in a booth and put the baby on the end with a high chair.

Come to find out, the hostess had written down 5 plus high chair. So, a party of 6. That was why all those other people got seated before us. Well, we got it straightened out and were sitting within 10 minutes. I wish I would have said something sooner...who knew?

The meal went off without a hitch. Our server was great and we ended up having a nice meal. So, how did I get $20 free?

Well, I took it upon myself to write Chili's. Ever since I started doing mystery shopping, I decided to start writing companies whenever I saw something they could improve upon, or if they are doing a great job, too! In fact, on that last trip to Red Robin, I wrote a nice review of our server. She was GREAT! And, I wanted the company to know it.

Well, with Chili's I wrote them the details, just like I did here, of what happened. I didn't complain, told them we still loved their establishment and I even told them the service was good. But, I was hoping they could use my suggestion for future training of hostesses, etc. I asked that they start training their hostesses to repeat back to each patron the seating situation. So, if the hostess had said to me, 5 plus high chair, I would have IMMEDIATELY known there was an issue and corrected it before waiting an hour.

The letter that accompanied my $20 was very nice, apologetic and it even said they have contacted the area manager to make sure they asked all hostesses to begin repeating the seating requirements back to their customers. ( I will be curious to see if they do this when we go to use the certificates ).

What about the TMX Elmo? Well, it isn't exactly free. I did buy one on clearance for $7, yes, $7 after Christmas to give to my son for his birthday. So, that was 2 weeks ago, and it already will not work. I have changed the batteries twice and nothing. Since I had already thrown the box away and it was on clearance ( I don't think Target had anymore ), I called Fisher Price. And, they immediately sent me a new one. Wonderful! Now, he has a working Elmo!! So, if something doesn't work, doesn't last as long as it should ( read my post on our gazebo from Sams Club ), call and request help! Even if it was only a $7 product.

You will be suprised on how willing and thankful companies are for your suggestions, comments and helping in any issues. It is always worth the email or phone call to at least relay the information to them. Even if you don't get a freebie, at least know that you may be helping the establishment provide better service to the next patron. And, if you see good service, let them know that, too. It is helpful to know when they are doing well, as well! And, as always, be nice about it!! Problems happen and no company is perfect ( just as we aren't )! And, for the little bit of time, you may just get some nice suprises in your mailbox like I have.

1 comment:

Business Mommy said...

Except for Taco Bell. My husband has ordered taquitos dozens, literally dozens of times, and specified the choice of guacomole dip to accompany them. It is amazing how many times they have given him something different, or nothing at all. Even after confirming with the cashier, he still always ends up with sour cream in the bag. Even using different locations. It was to the point to where I don't know if it was funny or sad. He called to complain each time it happened, but nothing.