Burger King made that there theme line for many years and I can still remember the jingle from when I was a kid, “...special orders don’t upset us…have it your way at Burger King”. BK was trying to differentiate themselves from McDonalds who had fixed sandwich selections. For a fast food restaurant, this was a great differentiator. Fast and however you like it.
“I’ve cracked the code” a recently married man exclaimed. “I say to my wife, guess where I’m taking you for dinner and wherever she guesses I take her there!” This is an example of our second top service tip noted in the first blog- “listen to what the customer wants and give it to them.” No, your spouse isn’t your customer, but as we’ve said before, we’re about service to all!
I learned this while at the Zingerman’s customer service training class in Ann Arbor Michigan. To show they practice what they preach, on the second day of the training, I found a Zingerman’s candy bar on my desk. I was the only one. I didn’t know why and then I realized, the day before, my friend sitting next to me was eating the same candy bar and I said “that looks good.” The trainer overheard me and placed it on my desk before the class began. Listening to the customer isn’t always direct but sometimes subtle. Sometimes they’re not even asking or know what they want!
Special instructions or special requests are an important part of our business and for most businesses and they’re also are part of the concept “listen to the customer.”
At a recent meeting with some of our managers, I ordered some lunch with Uber Eats. I noticed that each of our 4 orders had a special request. One no onions, one special dressing, etc. I asked our team whether they thought the restaurant (where we frequent often) would get all of orders right. Vanessa, our GM, said a quick no understanding how difficult this is. I thought, given that the special requests were typed in and part of the Uber Eats app, that they’d get it right.
Vanessa was correct.
At Fabricare, we have pop up messages that notifies the customer service team of an individual’s preferences so the team member invoicing the order knows exactly how a customer likes his order. We also have the customer’s special instructions print on each invoice for everyone to see as the order goes through the whole cleaning process.
Yet despite our sophisticated point-of-sale system and these direct requests, and our concerted effort to get the customer’s order correct, we still fail sometimes.
As I’ve noted in previous posts, writing these blogs helps me solve some issues as well as share our passion for service. I’m not writing to brag about how good we are. In fact, as I’ve stated in the outset, we have set out primarily to improve our business and be an example of great service for any industry. So why do we fail to get special request right 100% of the time?
When I think of the concepts in this blog and what we’ve learned, I would start with the idea that it’s not the employee’s fault. We have learned that mistakes are often rooted in either poor systems or good systems with poor training.
So, I have to ask myself, “do we have a good system for handling special requests?” Do we train our staff on the system for inputting special requests and then executing them for each and every customer?”
I will answer the above with a “no” and begin the process of focusing on how we can make special requests systematic and then train from it. Stay tuned……..