How brands get back up and brush themselves off.

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A few days ago, I posted a piece about how brands fall down (poor customer experiences) that was based mostly on three distinct negative experiences I had with usually fantastic brands. The three failures I cited were examples of how even the very best brands can screw up sometimes, and why.

Well, I was contacted by Sticky Fingers' area supervisor yesterday, and he offered to make things right. This is an exerpt of the email he sent me:

(...) "I am the Area Supervisor for the Greenville market. I recently read your blog and wanted to take a moment to respond.

I am not going to try and make excuses for what happened other than to say we blew it. I can however, assure you that this is not the norm at our restaurants. We strive for legendary service as well as food. We are not your typical chain restaurant, and we like to think of ourselves of going above and beyond for our guest.

I was truly disappointed to read your blog, and I accept full responsibility for your experience, as well as the other guest that day.

I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to write the blog. It is only through customers such as yourself that we can continue to improve our operations."

He then explained how he would make it right, and you know what? The guy just scored some major points with me. It couldn't have been easy to write that email, and while most managers at most companies wouldn't have bothered, not only did he take the time to respond, but he did it in the best possible way. And I like the fact that he mentioned that Sticky Fingers does not consider itself to be a typical chain. He used the term "legendary". I like that a lot.

Well played sir. Well played.

I will be taking him up on his offer to win back our business, and yes, as long as the food is back to its usual scrumptiousness and the Sunday buffet doesn't break down again, I will definitely be recommending Sticky Fingers to everyone I know once more.

Some companies would have contacted a lawyer to threaten me into removing the post. (Yes, it has happened.) Others would have simply ignored the post. Many would have never cared enough to even read it in the first place. Sticky Fingers chose a loftier path, and there's a lot to be said for that.

Ultimately, not screwing up in the first place is a lot cheaper than making ammends, but there's a lot to be said for a person in a leadership position trying to make things right by a customer whose experience wasn't up to par with a brand's promise.

And there is definitely something to be said for a person in a leadership position who doesn't hide behind excuses, and takes full responsibility for even the slightest failure.

Matt, thanks for the email. Sticky Fingers is back in my good graces, and yes, I will definitely give you another chance. You certainly deserve it. ;)

Well done, Sir.

photo by hulahulagirl @

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