Monday, June 6, 2011

Run, Don't Wok!

I love Chinese food! It's one of my weaknesses in the dreaded diet-arena. I can't go very long without getting my next fix and having it show up on the scale.

Beyond my love of Chinese food, is my love of online ordering for restaurants. I'm a picky eater (refer back to my Domino's piece - NO ONIONS!) and you'll understand that I'm a girl who likes to customize my order. "Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Mocha" for example or "Egg-Stravaganza, scrambled hard, no oil, no grits, sub fruit, whole wheat biscuit, please!" Flying Biscuit anyone?

Let me tell you, waiters and waitresses alike, LOVE me.

It's not always easy to get what you want - especially when you are picky. My precise-likeness (as I like to refer to it) can be explained to the uttermost-minor-detail through online ordering. Thank you computer geniuses everywhere! I'm now able to subtract, remove, omit, 86, and forever delete, my dreaded onions! Seriously, why are they in everything?

So when I found out recently that my new favorite Chinese restaurant offers online ordering - I knew I just had to try it out. Had to. It was a must. Sesame chicken here I come.

I logged on. Put in my order with ease:

Sesame Chicken
Brown Rice
Spring Roll
Side of Shrimp Sauce

Paid with credit card. Added on the tip. And waited for Chinese delicousness to arrive at my door.

30 minutes passed.
40 minutes passed.
45 minutes passed.
50 minutes hit. Where in the world is Carmen Sesame Chicken?

Mind you, this restaurant is 0.3 miles from our front door. I could have ordered, drove, picked it up, returned home, and ate it in that amount of time. But when you order Chinese food aren't you generally in a lazy mood?

I picked up my phone and called. Explained I put in an online order. "Yes, we received it!" Great! Why is it taking so long?

She explained that it had just come through on their end. Stupid technology.

I explained that I had been waiting for an hour at this point. She told me she'd put a Chinese fire-drill rush on it. Satisfied, I hung up.

15 minutes later - KUNG PAO! The Chef himself, Mr. General Tso, was ringing our doorbell with my order in hand. Now that is service!

Happily, I tore into the brown paper bag, only to be struck with utter disappointment. Where's my shrimp sauce? Why are there onions in the rice? Why is my order WRONG? Stupid online ordering.

Now, some people would have sucked it up, literally and figuratively, but not me. I expect to get what I order. Every. Single. Time.

I called back. Same girl answered. I explain. She apologizes. She says she'll have the right order over right away.

10 minutes later. Back was the Chef with new rice and sauce in hand. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

As I closed the door and went to turn for the kitchen, I noticed something. There was no car in the driveway this time. I saw the chef start to lightly jog, back to the restaurant. WOW! Now that, that is something to write about.

Not only did they apologize for the time it took to get the food, send the chef to personally deliver it, and apologize for the mix-up, but they made the chef RUN (not wok) it over.

When was the last time you ran, not walked, for your customers? When was the last time you made a WOW! when your service went wrong?

It takes a unique company to understand the power of satisfying each and every customer. No matter how big, or small, the order, no matter how much of a pain or strain it puts on you, no matter what - your job is to serve and exceed their expectations. Because, you never know when you will serve that ONE person who will re-tell your service story.

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, please visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email or by calling 704-333-1112.


  1. GOOD STORY ... and totally with you on the onion bit -- like 'em or not, they're in almost everything !! ... you're not alone out here

  2. Nicely told. Thanks for sharing. It made me click from sales caffeine newsletter to your blog. I almost clicked on Jeffery's article.......

  3. Sorry, but by the time the 3RD mistake took place, I've made up my mind to never do business with them again. I much more believe in, "slow down to speed up." Take the time to DIRTFT (DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME)and sales and profits will soar. Sales Dr.Phil

  4. I agree with Dr. Phil. You only get one chance to make that first impression, and, while I can live with one mistake, if they keep making it, that tells me they really don't CARE enough to get it right. I applaud them for apologizing and making it right, but my next order would be from a different chinese restaurant.

  5. Dr. Phil - I could not agree with you more. Nice that the "chef" came running right over with the second (correct) order, but by that time, the jury was out. Guilty. Of bad service. Of terrible execution. I am sure they were very nice about it - but we know where that gets people.

  6. Stephen S.MartinJune 7, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    I think you guys may be missing the point. You got to make it right. That is the only way to salvage a relationship that is going wayyyy bad. Even with the pile up of screwups- they made it right with WOW! If they gave up after the first time all there would be is BAD Press and we all know that spreads much faster than good. In this case they ultimately ended up with GOOD press and a story that shows they care enough to make it right no matter what.

  7. while i too subscribe strongly to the notion that "the slower we go the faster we go" i also accept that perfection is not typical... which is where the concept that “mistakes made are an opportunity to create a client for life” - if you respond the right way!

  8. I agree with Mr. Martin. The first was a technological screw up - ordering online was a new advancement to the restaurant, and who knows how many order they may have had coming in all at the same time? That's excusable. I, myself, am very particular about my food, so I understand about calling back to make the restaurant aware of the mistake. I think it's fantastic that they fixed it and personally sent the chef, on foot!
    That would keep me ordering from there. Maybe with a little more apprehension, I'd still get them my patronage.

  9. I knew a business owner who decided to take a chance on a young guy because when they went for a lunch interview (he made the young interviewee drive) the young guy ran to unlock the car door because it was a hot day and he didn't want to leave the owner standing in the hot sun. The owner decided that if the young guy would make that extra effort for such a small thing, he would be good for his business (which he was).

  10. I love all of the dialogue. So happy people have their own opinions on the service they provided. I've ordered from them again and never had a problem since. I believe that it's how you react to a problem that sets your service apart. Every company is going to have a time when something doesn't go right, but not every company knows how to react in a way that gets the customer to keep coming back. THAT is what my article was all about.

  11. That's a good story.I would not buy from them though. You got your order at 3rd attempt and it does not matter how did they dress it up. I would have expected things to be done right the first and every time. Did you speak to the owner to give them an honest feedback and point out the space for improvement?

  12. When you do find a special company that takes the time to go the extra mile and gives exceptional service, make sure you tell them how much it is appreciated, pass it on to the owner, and make it a point to do more business with them in the future. Great service and great feedback is extremely rewarding for both parties.

  13. "Because, you never know when you will serve that ONE person who will re-tell your service story."

    But, but, but... you didn't even mention the name of the restaurant!

  14. Mr. Shawn - The restaurant is Asian One.

  15. While I'd agree that the restaurant handled the mistakes well, I would have done some things differently:

    1) Test the technology before letting your customers find problems.

    While online ordering is great, having hungry customers waiting an hour for you to make their food is not. Since many restaurants survive or fail based on word of mouth, they can't just count on satisfying the customer-- great customer service is now expected as standard in such an industry. It seems to me like the restaurant forgot about your order (or misplaced it), then blamed the problem on their technology to cover their mistake. Not good. If it was in fact the technology, they could have easily tested this beforehand, and probably should have.

    2) Be proactive.

    Certainly, you called the restaurant when they got the order wrong. Still, how many companies are content to make the customer go the extra mile, instead of doing it themselves? After the first mistake, the restaurant should have called *you* to check that everything was satisfactory-- and given you 20% off your next meal there for your patience due to their mistake. After all, even if it's your technology, it's still your duty to make things right after you fail to meet customer expectations. They definitely should have done something extra after getting the order wrong as well.

    So, it seems to me like our double-tall, non-fat, no-whip sales barista provided the WOW, by being an extremely accommodating customer. The restaurant? Not as much, in my opinion.

  16. Mr. Shawn, thanks for pointing out the missing restaurant name! That was the first thing I looked for. I think this is a great story. I'm also a stickler for having things prepared properly. If I'm going to pay someone else to make my food, they are going to make it the way I like it. I've worked in the restaurant business before, and if our chef prepared something wrong it went back, with an apology, to be prepared again.

  17. Wow, you and I are a lot alike, although I joke about me being high maintenance. I call my favorite Chinese good place that is about 3/4 mile up the road, and when she hears my voice, she says "no carrot right?" I hate carrots- always have, and never understood why if I order chicken and broccoli, that they would be included. Blech! Up until recently I never needed glasses so my dad's trick to try to get me to eat them saying "you never see Bugs Bunny wearing glasses, do you?" Ironically I am the only family member who doesn't eat carrots and the last person in my family to need glasses. Maybe I am Daffy plenty of duck sauce to prove it!

    Anyway, love your customer service story!

  18. Wow, some of the replies are hard core guess is you never made a mistake? Impressive. I have, but the important thing is to make things right- immediately which Mr Chef did. Unless we have robots cooking food, we are human and humans make mistakes. How we (on either end) handle the mistake makes us who we are.