It’s so interesting how the internet has changed the way we do things. A few weeks ago I had a really bad experience with Chili’s. I talked to the manager there, and little was done to make me feel warm and fuzzy about my experience. So, I blogged about it. I wrote up every detail about our experience. It wasn’t exactly a rant, but I needed to express my feelings about the evening.
You all were awesome in the comments and suggested I do more, such as write a letter to the corporate headquarters. I wasn’t out for any freebies, but like one commentator said, I may find myself at Chili’s thanks to the cravings of my pregnant wife, and if I do happen to go back, would I want to experience the same bad service and bad food that I got with the initial visit? Absolutely not, so I had to let Corporate know so they could fix the problem.
Instead of writing a letter, I decided to tweet the Chili’s account and let them know that way, and point them to the blog post. After a few more tweets (maybe the account isn’t monitored as actively as I would expect from a national chain) I got a response from a Chili’s representative asking me to email them letting them know what happened, stating that they wanted to make things right.
That response right there made me feel better about the experience already. What is it about someone simply responding that makes things all better again? But Chili’s didn’t stop there and I got a phone call from the Chili’s headquarters in Texas. They wanted to clarify some things and formally apologize. They said they would be sending me an apology letter and some credit vouchers so my family could go back to Chili’s and they could make things right. Then I got a call from the Chili’s general manager in my area, again apologizing and letting me know that what we experienced is not how they normally do things.
The letter and vouchers arrived earlier this week and my wife suggested we go to a different Chili’s, so last night we did just that.
The experience was completely different. We arrived just before 5PM which could have attributed to the better service, but as soon as we were seated our waitress came to the table and did her thing. My wife is shy and doesn’t like talking to people, but as the waitress left, my wife actually said, “I like her, she’s nice”
Way to go Chili’s waitress, Stacy! To win over my wife that quick is a huge accomplishment!
All through the night, Stacy was very attentive to our needs and did a great job. The atmosphere at this Chili’s was much more like what I would expect and we enjoyed ourselves. The restaurant was very clean, hostess was on the ball and it was the complete opposite of the experience we had prior.
The way things are done now is very different than in the past. Customers now have an open forum and direct contact with companies via Twitter, Facebook and blogs all thanks to the Internet. This is a great asset to companies that can get onboard. Every company makes mistakes, but it’s how companies deal with mistakes, especially now that everyone can see the whole conversation, that sets one company apart from another.
While I don’t see us going back to that first Chili’s restaurant for a while, I can’t completely write-off the company because of the way they handled what could have been brushed off as a tiny little incident.
Image by dbkfrog br>
Tags: apology letter, bad experience, chili s, commentator, corporate headquarters, cravings, credit vouchers, feelings, freebies, initial visit, phone call, pregnant wife, rant, tweets, writing a letter