Last week I lost a dear cousin. My other cousins and I were trying to figure out what we could do to help the grieving family. There were 5 of us. Coming from an old school Italian family, there were those who wanted to send the big flower spray to the wake, others thought that was a waste. I suggested a compromise, “Let’s send something beautiful to the wake, but also, let’s send some food to the house so while they are making the arrangements, there would be something to nourish them without having to think about it.” Agreed, and, “Abbe, can you take care of it for us?” So off I went to make the arrangements.
It was a Monday and many local Italian restaurants where they lived seemed to be closed. Having a training center, I often arrange lunches or breakfasts for my clients and I remembered that Panera Bread does a really nice job with sandwiches and other goodies with very neat and convenient packaging. I thought that would be great because it would be easy for people to pick up a sandwich whenever they were hungry; nothing to heat up, not much to clean up.
So I went online to find a Panera nearest to my cousin’s house. I proceeded to create a really hearty online order, but when it was time to schedule the deliver I received a message that said the first available delivery would be for the next day. That seemed odd to me because I really didn’t care what time of day they delivered, but I did want it on that day.
I phoned the actual restaurant and explained my situation. The person on the other end of the phone interrupted me before I could finish telling me that they need a 3 hour lead time for online orders. I tried to explain that 3 hours was fine and that I wasn’t sure if I even entered a specific time when trying to order on line, but then she asked me where the order was going. I told her the town and mentioned that I was going to check the next closest Panera on the website, and she interrupted me again to say that if a different place came up then that was probably the closest store. On the website it lists the mileage from the restaurant to the delivery site, and their store was definitely the closest; was she really telling me to go to the other store?
Finally I decided to ask if she could just do this as a phone order and asked how soon it could be delivered. She told me the person who handles the catering would be back at 11:00 and she could call me back. Needless to say, I had no confidence that she would ever call me back particularly because she sounded so disgusted with me, her customer.
So I took her unwitting advice and called the second closest store. The gentleman who answered the phone said, “First let me say I’m sorry for your loss. I’m going to give you to Jenny who handles our catering.” Wow, what a difference. Jenny proceeded to take my order; no questions asked and said they would get the food out in about 30 minutes to an hour. She asked if I wanted her to put in a note and should she call before they deliver? I love you, Jenny, and kudos to you and your staff for listening and providing excellent customer service!
Thoughts…….. Contact me at abbe@TECResourceCenter.com
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