I drink a lot of coffee. So when we saw the sign that said, “World’s best coffee” at the Coldwater, Michigan exit from I-69, I decided that we had to stop later in the day. Nancy and I were going to her folks to return a computer that I had been working on. It’s a 75-minute drive from our house. On the way home, I knew I would need coffee, it being the day after New Year’s.
We found the Biggby coffee location in a strip mall. I drove through, asked for a short decaf. And we settled in for the next hour.
It wasn’t the world’s best coffee. In fact, it was pretty blah. (I know. Some people think all decaf is blah. But this? This wasn’t among the world’s best decafs.)
So I complained, nicely, on the company’s website, at 11:39 Friday night. I hadn’t spent much money. So it wasn’t that. It’s just that I assume that companies want to know when customers aren’t impressed.
Here’s what happened:
1. Monday morning at 8:08 am I got an email from Tom Butz, VP-Operations, an email that started with “Yikes!” He asked for more details, reiterated the company’s desire to offer coffee better than the rest.
2. I replied with more details. He wrote back before 6:00am Tuesday morning, asking for my address.
3. On Tuesday I also heard from the operator of the local store, asking for details.
4. After I replied, she wrote back with more details, an apology, and hope that I find her when I come back.
5. 10 days later, I got a hand-addressed envelope.
6. It had a hand-written note, nice card, logo in the inside of the notecard.
7. It had 2 free beverage coupons. One to simply replace the drink I had, the other to give me another try.
8. I found the comment form by searching for the company name. The corporate site has a videoblog for the president. His blog links to the VP-O’s personal blog.
Look at that list: five emails from two people at Biggby’s. Two coupons. One handwritten note. Social media-enabled website. A corporate climate that says, “Yikes!” Clear conviction from both people that the coffee they serve stands out from the rest.
I haven’t been back yet. I’m not going to drive out of my way for a free coffee. We will, however, be heading that way in a month or so. I’ll find out how good the coffee is.
But if they care this much about one cup of coffee for one customer, I’m thinking it’s worth a second try.
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