I was out early this morning delivering Squirrels and doing other errands.
I was dropping into the Wendys at Lincoln Fields. It was a little hard to see if it was open yet as it was around 9. There were no cars parked there yet. Just as I was about 10m from the door a young kid in a Wendys uniform stuck his head out the door and spit on the sidewalk. I must admit, it was a rather good example of spitting.
Needless to say, that shut down my hamburger needs of the moment. He took note of me because it probably looked like I was approaching to come in and then abandoned. Also, I had a look of dismay on my face as I saw him retreat back into the front entrance. He just dismissed me with his nose in the air.
Instead I went into Lincoln Fields mall. Nothing much was open so I went to Walmart to take a look at a camera I was thinking about (and also look at a vacuum). I overheard on the P.A. some sort of staff meeting was being called.
When I arrived at the area that has TV’s, cameras and stuff, there was about 20 people it seemed. They were all dressed in Walmart gear and obviously this was the meeting location. I was amazed that you could have 20 staff in one place and one customer hovering around and have ZERO service. I could not even consider the camera since there was nobody that would pay attention to me to unlock the camera display (not to mention answer questions).
I went to look at their vacuum cleaners for a bit. Came back. Still meeting. I hovered around for a while longer. I was sort of glad nobody payed attention as I might have been a little difficult with them by explaining how long it had taken to get one of 20 people to do some work. I’d reached the point where I didn’t feel very good about their stinking store.
As I was leaving the store I could hear their raw-raw session (obviously one of those annoying sales or performance milestone meetings).
I then went to the grocery store to get some ginger (which I was thinking about now that I’m hungry and I abandoned my Wendys idea).
This made me happier. I was starting to imagine green curried chicken. I grabbed some hot peppers, garlic, basil and some water chestnuts. The whole bill came to 12 bucks or so (probably what I’d have spent at Wendys and this is enough for some time).
I know this is crazy for breakfast. But I like hot curry any time of the day.
Lean chicken, vegetables is probably better for you than a burger anyways.
After the grocery store, I was figuring things would be under control at the Walmart. So I went back.
Of course there is a sign that says “Will be back in 15 mins”.
You’d think that after a service blackout, staff would have something to do besides go for a @#R@#$@#$ cigarette (I know that’s what walmart people do, I dated a lady that worked there when I was in first year university).
The thing about a company of idiots is you can’t complain easily because they’re all unavailable during the time there service blackouts.
Of course there are the cashiers at the front of the store when I was leaving.
Like they care.
So I decided to check each of their Web sites to see what condition they are in for customer service.
I’ve been a loyal Wendys customer for ages. Great product, great-fast service. But was tough for me to get buy the side-walk-loogey incident this morning. Sure I could have come in, complained and/or put the little punk in his place. But do I want to be served by some knuckle dragging punk?
I visited Wendy’s site. I almost dismissed the page since it was littered with phone numbers and snail mail addresses. There is a spot where you can tell them about an experience. You have to fill out a series of Web forms. I have to go looking for the address of the Wendy’s since they make you pick them by address. After going through sever layers of forms you get to put your complaint in a box.
Here’s what I put in the box:
This morning I abandoned a visit to your store at Lincoln Fields in Ottawa, ON. Just as I arrived one of your staff took it upon himself to stick his head out the front door and spit a huge load onto the sidewalk.
Really turned me off.
I’ve been a total fan of your restaurants for years but this one is going to be difficult to get by.
At the very end I got a Web error (this is the problem with Web forms). They aren’t as reliable as an email for gathering customer reports. I wonder how many complaints they loose because the user can’t get through the technical process or they don’t immediately see the link to the complaint form.
Walmart has a Web contact form too. One thing I’ll give them is that my eyes fell on the email address pretty quickly. The process of complaining took less time.
An email is a great option to give people. If forms are necessary, they can bring that up later. That probably has a higher success rate at discovering service problems.
Here’s what I sent to them:
Feb 22, 9-10am
I was in your store this morning attempting to buy a camera. Staff meeting on the floor right near the cameras was a little rude. It’s one thing to have nobody to serve you but to have 20 staff in front of you and nobody to serve you is getting a little ridiculous.
I think customer service is an important function for these companies. Also a key to the process is the amount of friction that complainant has to get through to share their experiences.
Ottawa! Let’s work on being better at service. And being better customers too!
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