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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Whenever I hear “World’s best coffee” I immediately think of the scene in the movie Elf where Will Ferrell discovers a coffee shop claiming to have the world’s best coffee and innocently believes it must be so.
That’s great that they got back to you in all those different ways. I’ve complained, nicely, and never heard anything back and promptly used my money else where.
Jon, Let me know when you are going to be there and I will see if I can meet you and have a cup of coffee with you!
We love our customers!
Tom Butz, VP of Operations, BIGGBY COFFEE
Charles Gupton says
Jon, Great customer service post. I get tears in my eyes when I hear stories of great response to customers’ complaints or comments because the stories are so rare.
My aim is not satisfaction, but delight in serving my clients. It’s been particularly difficult of late when most of the job requests come with a low budget. But I’m trying to be creative in finding ways to make the experience itself delightful and personal.
On Twitter @ http://twitter.com/CharlesGupton
Can you tell me what kind of business you have? You asked for ‘budget’ ways to delight your customers. We all need ways to keep our customers happy and coming back without breaking the piggy bank!
Paul Gerst says
This is a very very impressive example of a customer service culture. If Biggys was near me, I would be sure to patronize it. As an online retailer, we try to instill this kind of culture. A true culture of service will always win out over low prices.