May I Fix You a Nice Roast Beef Sandwich?

roast beefI believe the most powerful commercial use of the web is the most mundane: using it to deliver better service at less cost. Unfortunately, too many companies believe web-based customer service means slapping up a comment form that goes to some poor webmaster that can't do anything anyway.

I recently had a bad shopping experience at a local Albertson's supermarket that became a positive customer service experience, thanks to their web site. I received an apology, my money back and what appears to be a 30-day supply of roast beef.

Here is what they did right:

  • Confirmed my complaint immediately. The next business day I had an email from the website staff letting me know a customer service rep would contact me in a few days.
  • Referred my complaint to somebody who could do something about it. The following day I received a phone call from the local store manager.
  • Tracked my complaint. I was tied up at a conference and unable to return his call. A few days later I was CCed on email that leads me to believe they have a tracking system and my complaint was showing up unresolved.

Organizations that want to implement effective web-based customer service can take a lesson from this. That lesson is you can make even disgruntled customers happy if you've got good systems and procedures in place--and you give them a heapin' bag of fine roast beef.