Holidays. It is the time of year when everything seems festive and happy. Shops are busy, fruit stands sell out, and most people prepare for their Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve dinners. It would seem to be one of the busiest days one could have in the entire year. More so if, he/she runs a food related business.
This time of year is the true test of whether an establishment has trained its people well enough to be able to achieve zero negative feedback from even one of its customers. Delivery orders will be off the charts, and managing of the incoming and outgoing orders can be quite a juggle. It is also understandable if some mishap will happen at the peak seasons. If a delivery was not processed, it will be up to the customer service representative (order taker, cashier, or delivery manager) to handle the situation in a manner that will decrease the aggravation of the customer from the failed delivery.
It is now 3 hours before January 1st of the year 2011. Our New Year’s Eve dinner is always ordered out from a pizza parlor that my parents love. Unfortunately, it is just my observation that for 2 years in a row, they provided bad customer service. Last year, our order arrived 4 hours later than the time they specified it would arrive. The iced tea was also lukewarm when it got to our house. This year, we ordered mid-afternoon so the delivery wouldn’t get caught up in the last-minute rush. However, 3 hours after the order got placed, the delivery still hasn’t arrived, and so I decided to follow up on my order. To my chagrin, I got into a 20-minute discussion with everybody at the pizza place (that’s what it felt like anyway).
I don’t want to dwell on the negative since it is the New Year. So I would just like to give whoever-is-on the-other-end-of-the-delivery-hotline some tips on how to handle stressful holiday peak orders:
1. Let me (the customer) explain the reason for the aggravated tone. NEVER interject while I'm speaking.
2. If you don’t know anything about the order, pass the phone on to someone whom you think can answer properly. Don’t pass off the phone to different people in the transaction process (cashier-other cashier-cook-delivery guy). Only one person took the order so only one person should know the answer.
3. Check the records twice, if not thrice. Some people have the same last names, don’t assume that they’re the same person or they have the same address, or even the same product ordered.
4. Don’t insist that the order has been delivered and paid for because what you state in your delivered records is not my order and not my address.
5. When I'm ordering again because of the previously failed delivery, don’t tell me that it would be at the house only after 45 minutes. I placed the order hours before. It is not my fault it wasn’t processed. My order should be TOP priority.
6. When apologizing for your blunders, NEVER EVER blame the time of year. Other busy establishments manage to deliver orders before their specified time without any kinks, no matter the time of year.
For the customers, always ask for the name of who took your order. This might help if your order gets misplaced, or when sending a feedback form to the manager.
The holidays should never be an excuse for bad customer service. Just graciously accept your honest mistake and tell the customer what you can do for him/her. This tip should actually be implemented throughout the year.
A new year is coming, may this year give us new opportunities, new chances, and new quality of life. Hopefully, this article might help somebody in the future.
A Prosperous New Year to All!