Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Customer Service?

Kristi Gustafson Barlette writes an article that brings forth a lot of antagonism from her readers. Rightly so... 


Situations like this makes me wonder. Does the owner of this salon really think like this? Do they really think that they are winning back an unhappy customer? I do realize that there are times when you cannot make a customer happy but to NEVER apologize is simply not very smart customer service. I think the owner was more concerned with justifying their procedures than they were with trying to understand what made the customer upset.

This reminds me of a time that my wife and I were celebrating our anniversary. We made reservations at a well know establishment in downtown Albany. We had never been there but we were excited because they had a reputation for being a fabulous place. We got dressed for the occasion and arrived a few minutes before our reservation time.

Although it was only early November there was snow and it was cold. We were wearing heavy coats over formal attire. Inside, the place was warm and alive. We were just brimming with happiness. The owner/hostess was on the phone and watched as we walked in. Instead of smiling and acknowledging us with any sort of gesture he turned his back on us and continued to talk on the phone.

I looked at my wife and she looked at me. Both of us a bit surprised but we continued to stand there... waiting. Every so often a waiter or waitress would push by us on their way to the kitchen. Never a hello. Never a welcome. Never a sorry but somebody will be right with you. We waited. The owner continued to talk on the phone. We waited and watched people eating. And we waited. Standing in an entrance way to the restaurant. Getting hot with winter coats. Unbuttoning them and wishing somebody would at least offer to hang them up for us. Instead we waited.

I am a patient man but after 20 minutes of waiting I was no longer patient.

We buttoned up our coats and walked out. Made it to our car as the owner came running out after us.
I rolled down my window to at least acknowledge him when nobody would acknowledge us. I expected and apology. Instead he was angry. Didn't I understand that he was on the phone with a customer and I shouldn't expect him to hang up on them to take care of me...

We made the exchange short and my wife and I went to Jack's Oyster House instead. I was still exasperated and explained my situation to the hostess there. Without a reservation they made room for us and seated us immediately as well as bought us an appetizer. Now there is exemplar customer service.

My story could have ended there but the owner of the other restaurant decided it was still necessary to call me at work the next day and continue with his tirade explaining how I was unreasonable. Never once apologizing. Never once trying to understand what I was so upset over. I could have explained that there were multiple ways that they could have shown that I was important. Simple acknowledgement with a gesture indication that he would be right with us. A short break from the phone conversation asking a waitress to seat us or at least take our coats...

The owner was more concerned about justifying his attitude than with trying to understand how to improve customer service. I'm not surprised that his restaurant closed forever a  few years later.

What is important to you when it comes to customer service?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mr. Subb brings Catering to you!

Feedback from our customers is a great tool. When somebody compliments us it is uplifting to find out what we do well. We certainly will continue to try to do those things. Although complaints sometimes hurt, we get to find out the things that need improvement. We certainly take notice and look at ways to fix those areas.

During our recent (current) campaign “Elect Mr. Subb your Subb Shop” we included a quick questionnaire. Besides the necessary customer data we asked:

  1. What subb/sandwich is your favorite from Mr. Subb?
  2. What location is your favorite Mr. Subb location?
  3. Did you know that Mr. Subb is a locally owned and operated company?
  4. Did you know that you can save 5% every time you order online?
  5. What can Mr. Subb do to serve you better?

As customers “voted” and answered our questionnaire we received a lot of compliments and a host of great suggestions. There were a few common themes. One was that it would be great if we delivered.

Guess what?

Mr. Subb now has a catering menu AND

 To make your party or meeting better Mr. Subb will bring food to you.

“Mr. Subb's catering includes FREE delivery and set up for orders of $150 or more.  (Must be within our normal delivery area).  Catering includes utensils, plates and napkins.  For smaller orders or for delivery out of our area there will be an extra charge for delivery.  (Delivery  charges are $15 and up)”

We try to listen to you. Send us your suggestions. For more information on catering visit our website at:



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dirty Politics even in Subb Shop campaigns

Election time is filled with excitement centering around the promises of change and of better futures. What an opportunity to have a fun little promotion that is election themed and brings some excitement to our customers as well.

“Vote for Mr. Subb as your Subb Shop”.
Plus you get entered to win some fabulous prizes.

Politicians every term must face their constituents and re-apply for their position. New contenders are always out there with bigger and better promises and the voters have to decide which will provide the best service to them and their community. It all comes down to a vote on Election Day.

With some seriousness, Businesses do this too. Voting is not done at a polling place but by customers spending their hard earned dollars. Voting is done daily. Some new contenders come onto the market and some businesses find themselves voted out of their position. This promotion was meant not only to give some excitement to our customers but to remind everyone at Mr. Subb that we must seek the votes (sales) of our customers. We campaign (market) to our customers with campaign promises (marketing positions) and we must stand on our record (past performances) in delivering those campaign promises.

The promotion was simple. Place some yard signs among the politician signs asking our customers for votes, Include Webpage, Facebook, Twitter, In-Store POS and Email support telling our customers our campaign promises and having people vote online. The vote would have a brief survey that could help us determine what things customers liked and what we could do better.

Things started out great and signs were placed. I noticed some signs started disappearing. They were replaced. Was this a zoning issue? A competitor? Some kids wanting a souvenir? Part of campaigning I suppose but surprising. Mr. Subb has used these types of lawn signs before without having ANY disappear.

One of the signs was in Newton Plaza in Latham. We have a location in the plaza and the plaza never contacted us about any reason they would have removed it. We replaced it.

The night we replaced the sign, it disappeared again but this time there was a witness to the crime. I got a text from a friend who works at Computer Renaissance in the plaza.

“Hey just leaving the store and a guy pulled up and took the Mr Subb sign(voting one) that was by the plaza sign and put it in his trunk. My mom told me when I got in the car. Not sure if this means anything, Just wanted you to know”

I asked for a description and he responded;

“All she said was a dark car, white guy, looked like a white dress shirt. He opened trunk right when he got out of the car and out it in the trunk then left”

I’ve dealt with town zoning officers and they don’t work at 9pm at night. Plus in most cases they tell you about the sign and warn you that if you put it up again you’ll be fined. I don’t think this was any town official.

We have had to deal with kids too. The description doesn’t sound like it was a kid.

Makes me believe that we are dealing with our competition running a dirty campaign. Makes me wonder about their campaign promises. If they can steal I am sure that they can lie too.

Only two weeks into this “fun” campaign we have found that 40% of these campaign signs have been stolen. Some of these were placed directly in front of our stores.

Dirty Politics for sure.