Yes, I have a food blog, and yes, that means I love to cook at home a lot.
But sometimes I’m tired and worn out and just want a quick meal without work. So I rely on a few nearby restaurants.
Jimmy John’s is one of them. And, after the service they gave us when we ordered from them last week, they won’t be included any more.
The bad service started when my wife called our order in. The employee did not ask her how she wanted to pay. My wife had to call back to pay by credit card. The employee did not say “Thank you” or “Bye”; she simply hung up.
We have called this particular Jimmy John’s location to place an order before, and sometimes we have our food within 10 or 15 minutes. Freaky fast, indeed.
A long, long wait
But this time was different. In fact, my wife placed the order just before an NCAA March Madness game tipped off. By the time the game had reached halftime (20 minutes of game time plus multiple play stoppages), we still did not have our food.
After waiting for 45 minutes for our food, my wife went to call back Jimmy John’s to complain. Just as she was placing the call, the delivery driver called to inquire about directions. He was close but on the wrong side of a main road. And, for some reason, he thought he was delivering to a business.
We thought this was odd considering we have ordered before and had no hiccups in delivery service.
After we pointed the driver in the correct direction, he arrived about 10 to 15 minutes later. Considering where he said he was when he called, it should not have taken more than 5.
The trouble with money
When the driver arrived, the receipt said $3.62 instead of $11.50, which is what our order cost. We thought that was Jimmy John’s giving us a discount for their service.
My wife signed the receipt and sent the driver on his way.
No sooner had she set the food on the counter when the doorbell rang again.
It was the driver, and he said that the order had been rung up incorrectly and that we owed more money. After a bit of back and forth, my wife signed the receipt for $11.50.
If a restaurant undercharges a customer by accident, and the customer signs the receipt, shouldn’t the business should absorb the undercharged amount? We think so, yet the driver insisted we pay the full $11.50.
After all of this, my wife called the store and spoke with the manager. He said the service was not good because he had new employees, and he would speak with them about their performance.
What we expected was for the manager to say he would charge us just the $3.62 or some other similar recompense.
She also emailed a complaint to the corporate email account. We have not heard back yet, but I will update this post if we do.
(UPDATE 1): Jimmy John’s called my wife in regards to her corporate complaint and will be sending us a $15 gift card and said the service we received was not on par with what they strive to achieve. We appreciate that.
Sound off: Have you ever had customer service so bad that you stopped buying from that business?
I just finished reading “The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves” by Dan Ariely.
The book was quite good in the level of detail the author included about experiments and how the results of those experiments show that people lie to other people and to themselves more frequently than they might think.
But the takeaway of one study was one that I found intriguing:
These results suggest that once someone (or some organization) does us a favor, we become partial to anything related to the giving party — and that the magnitude of this bias increases as the magnitude of the initial favor (in this case the amount of payment) increases.”
It is interesting that I was reading this book at just about the same time that I was writing the draft for my Cabot Cheese social media case study post in which Cabot sent me free cheese. I ended up using the cheese as ingredients for recipes posted on my food blog and then posted about my overall experience with the brand here.
It’s not too surprising, I think, to read the above quote.
Dishonest with yourself
The dishonesty part came about because, in the experiment, people underwent fMRI scans while seeing a painting and a logo of a gallery. Each participant was informed that one gallery provided payment for the experiment.
Participants were asked to like or dislike paintings, and the results showed they liked ones from the gallery that paid for the experiment. But when asked, participants said the logo had no effect on their choice.
Clearly, self-deception was at work.
It should not be a shock that when a brand does something nice or offers a free product or service that there will be a little bit of loyalty. The loyalty does not have to last a lifetime, either.
I recognize that I’ve had these types of feelings toward other brands when they have been kind or done nice things to me. I tell myself that I feel no need to reciprocate the brand’s kind gestures.
But, really, there’s nothing wrong with reciprocating, so long as you’re honest with yourself.
How willing are you to reciprocate exposure or other gestures to brands when they do so to you?
If you are a dog owner, you’re probably aware of the massive dog food recall that has been going on for the past couple of weeks.
We feed our dogs Natural Balance, both their food and their treats products1.
Dog food from various brands were recalled after a salmonella-tainted batch of food was made in a South Carolina plant.
The dog food recall has not affected Natural Balance, but they participated in a voluntary recall of their products and even posted a video from their president.
We had just bought a large 25-pound bag of dog food before news of the voluntary recall came out. We wondered what we should do with the food we had just purchased.
So my wife emailed Natural Balance and asked just that.
In response, we got an apology and a coupon for a free bag of dog food. We didn’t ask for it. But they sent it anyway.
As always, good customer service can enhance brand loyalty. That’s the lesson I’m taking away from our customer service with Natural Balance.
1 As proponents of the buy local philosophy, we had our dogs on Fromm Family Foods, a Wisconsin company, but switched back to Natural Balance because the food was too rich for one of our dogs. (He has a sensitive stomach.)