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Concerned Customer

We recently received a complaint from a “customer.” We will call this customer George.

George sent us the following email. (The customer’s real name and actual place of business have been redacted.)

Hi. I am a huge fan of Del Taco. Always thought it was far superior to the alternatives...yet still keeps a small-town vibe...friendly, warm, and very good food. My opinion is changing rapidly because of recent experiences at my Del Taco on West Bowles in Littleton Colorado. I will list them: 1. In one order a couple days ago the presentation was inconsistent. At the drive thru the employee on the speaker was almost pushy and rude in his delivery...it was like he was trying to rush me. He spoke so fast I had to ask him to repeat what he was saying several times. Definitely had an attitude. I got my order but had to go back because although two of my value tacos were properly made, a third had a teaspoon of meat in it. My crunchtada was improperly made...beans piled in the center of the shell instead of spread out...with less than half the usual lettuce and cheese. I pulled back in to explain and the same employee that was so rude on the speaker is looking at me as if I were trying to scam him. Then without so much as an apology he asks for the food back and proceeds to inspect it in front of me. He barks an order to another employee who redoes the two items. Without a word he shoves the bag at me. I drive off feeling they have corrected the order. The value taco was correct...however the crunchtada was a mess. It appeared someone just slopped the beans around even hitting the sides of the container and still did not use the proper amount of cheese and lettuce. My redo was worse than the first one. I grudgingly ate it not wanting to deal with the rude, rushed employee again. 2. In most of my last 5 visits the fries were barely lukewarm. Del Taco fries, when fresh and hot are some of the best anywhere. When allowed to sit they become almost inedible. Only once did I go back for fresh ones. 3. I like Double Del cheeseburgers. I have noticed that the buns as of late are dried out...as if they are kept in the open air. I never complain without offering suggestions: The person taking your order has the responsibility of making the customer feel welcome and at ease. First impressions are of paramount importance. Speak clearly and naturally in a non-rushed way. Efficient, but patient and understanding. Put your most naturally friendly people on that speaker. More extensive training for new employees about how Del Taco food is to be properly prepared. Do not cut corners or slop together an order because you're trying to work too fast. Every order is important. Frequently do quality control checks and correct missteps. Don't skimp on the ingredients...a customer would never bring back a taco that had too much meat. Never pre-make Del Taco fries and let them sit under a heat lamp. Within minutes they become soggy and horrible. Solution: Make them fresh. Otherwise you are killing one of the best items on the menu. Buns must be stored in a closed plastic or similar airtight container. The Double Del cheeseburger is amazing when made on a fresh soft bun. A dry bun does not do it justice. I hope this helps to improve the experience at my local Bowles Avenue Del Taco. I was kind of a Del Taco advocate with everyone, but I worry that standards are slipping at least at my store. Time for a re-set. While coupons are appreciated as compensation for my time and trouble, the most important outcome would be that you focus more on quality and less on speed. I am there at least three times a week and I want to go back to spreading the word that Del Taco is far superior to Taco Bell. Please feel free to contact me via email or text with any questions or additional insights. Thanks Bob Karson.

 

The following was our reply to George …

   George, 

It is obvious from your recent complaint via email that you are truly passionate about tacos and other items sold at your local Del Tacos restaurant. It is also obvious you are well versed in customer service and food preparation techniques. 

We applaud you for taking the time and making the effort to help the management of the local restaurant to improve, so that you will be proud to once again be an advocate. 

However, you have sent your complaint and valid suggestions to the Delta Companies Inc. We are a site development and highway contractor specializing in asphalt paving and road construction materials, including aggregates, asphalt paving mixtures, and asphalt emulsions. We operate throughout southeast Missouri, northeast Arkansas, and southern Illinois. 

We can assure you that should you visit one of our locations (quarries, asphalt plants, or liquid terminal), we will not skimp on ingredients – a ton is a ton, the aggregates will never be soggy, nor will the hot mix asphalt be stale. 

We truly hope your local Del Tacos restaurant appreciates a customer who cares that much! 

We are going to share your letter (minus your name and store name) with our sales, quality control, and other public-facing personnel. Whether a business is selling tacos or rocks, the importance of quality and customer service are the same. 

  Have a wonderful day!

 

Undaunted, George was quick to reply …

So sorry.  When I looked up the corporate office of Del Taco, for some reason your firm was listed.

I do apologize.   I hope you all had a good laugh over this in your offices and I loved your explanation about the quality of your products as it related to my complaint.  Who knows...this could spur new innovations like a Fiesta melted cheese hot mix or the new extra crunchy hard shell aggregate filling.  See? You have me doing it now.

  Thanks for the hilarious reply.   Great to find a company with a sense of humor.

  Have a good weekend.

 

This exchange with “concerned customer” George provides a few laughs, but it also contains some valuable lessons.

  • George is an advocate for his favorite restaurant, so much so that he took the time to write a rather lengthy email to them. Does your business have customers that would do the same?
  • He stressed the importance of getting the order right the first time, being courteous to customers and co-workers, handling complaints properly, correcting mistakes promptly, and performing frequent quality control checks. You may want to re-read George’s complaint now.
  • George gave this business an opportunity to make it right. How many other customers just walked away disappointed, never to return? Or worse, told all their friends to stay away, as well?

Thank you, George, for this lesson regarding the wrong and right ways to manage the customer experience!

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