Start down the road to recovery

One of the biggest obstacles to recovering from a mistake, is that we usually don't know there was a mistake. Only 5% - 10% of customers will tell us when something goes wrong. Therefore, we need to make it easy, comfortable and fun for our customers to tell us how to improve.

To-go orders are a common area for service failures. When there's a mistake, what usually happens? The customer calls and complains, and we tell them to come back and we'll make it right. But that's not good enough. It might fix the order, but here's how to create raving fans.

In each to-go order, place a "Complaining for Results" card, like the sample we've provided. It should be pre-printed, self-addressed, and have pre-paid postage.

Tell your customers that you try to do it right, but mistakes sometimes happen. If the order wasn't right, call or come back and you'll make it right. That means:

  • Apologizing -- with no attitude
  • Comping the meal
  • Taking their name and address (to add to your database, of course)
  • Sending them a pre-printed apology postcard good for a free item on their next visit


What's in it for you? You'll have lots of raving fans AND you'll have a road map for improving. If 90% of the complaints you hear are about missing side orders, you'll know where to go to solve that problem.

Will people abuse it? Maybe a few. Will it be worth it? Definitely!

Get going. Start asking your customers to complain. You'll be the talk of the town.

Are you looking for a more tech-savvy solution? Check out Interactive Response Surveying from Mercantile Systems, one of my preferred outsources.


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