Friday, September 01, 2006

Credit where credit's due:

Those of you who know me personally know that I eat wings a lot. Usually every Sunday and once during the week. So as you might imagine, I'm a pretty frequent customer of Wing Zone, and as much as I hate going out to Jordan Creek, lately I've been making relatively frequent trips to the Buffalo Wild Wings out there.

Two weeks ago, though, I had a pretty terrible experience at Buffalo. I'm not sure how it happened, but of my dozen wings, 3-4 were shattered to the point where I ended up picking shards of bone out of my teeth. As luck would have it, that was also the night I got one of the "would you please take this survey about your experience?" receipts, so I went home and told them the truth. I got a "thanks for your feedback" screen and a code for a free dessert. I like dessert and I really only wanted to tell them about the problem so they could fix it, so I was satisfied.

Early this week, my cell rang while I was in a meeting and I ignored it. It was someone from Buffalo Wild Wings, they left a message but I accidentally deleted it. I figured they'd probably give up. I went and got more wings that night, and the problem was fixed.

Tonight, at 8 pm on a Friday, when you wouldn't expect anyone to be working, I got another call from them. They wanted the details of the problem, and as a reward for bringing the problem to their attention, they gave me 24 free wings (double my previous order).

So now, I'm impressed. And I like free wings, so Buffalo Wild Wings has officially purchased my loyalty. In fact, they've even convinced me to share my loyalty with all of you.

I guess, if you've skimmed this post (and seeing the length and content, I can understand how you would have), the moral is this: Good customer service and a willingness to correct problems will bring customers back, even after bad experiences.

It's a lesson I wish our elected officials would learn. I wish I had a dollar for every concerned citizen I hear from who's done everything short of scream at their elected official and seen no change or response.



The Real Sporer said...

Madman you are a madcap!

Wing Zone might be the most importanat culinary development in West Des Moines history, well, at least since Taco John's opened on Grand in the dark ages.

Matt ( said...

....think those "wings" came from a poultry confinement that drove down the price of production low enough to allow you to purchase 24 wings (from 12 birds, mind you) for $7.99 @ Buffalo Wild Wings? I know you don't like CAFO's or overproduction of "meat" but your chicken wings come from a CAFO as well (most likely) and poultry is "meat" that is "overconsumed"....I'm with you on the regulating animal confinements, but not for the "we eat too much meat" reason that you point out...

[to be perfectly honest, I don't know how much they cost at BWW...but I'm sure that they aren't exactly "expensive"]

KL Snow said...


A) I don't recall ever using the word "overconsumed." I don't think meat is overconsumed. I eat more meat than most people you know.

On the day when CAFO production ends and the price of meat goes up, as it inevitably will, I'll pay more for meat.

I'd rather you didn't put words in my mouth on this issue. My opposition to CAFOs has nothing to do with eating too much meat. I advocate against CAFOs for environmental reasons and economic ones.

rexusnexus said...

So, what you're saying is that for 24 wings and a dessert (probably about .75 cent food-cost) BWW has bought your loyalty. All they get is your return visits, free advertising, and information that may help them avoid some very expensive lawsuits. I'd reopen negotiations.

KL Snow said...

No, what i'm saying is this:

My business, even at the level I currently eat wings, probably isn't a make-or-break for BWW. But when I complained, they made three efforts to contact me, replaced my bad order twice over, and followed up to make sure my return experiences were better.

For showing that kind of interest in my enjoyment of their restaurant, the kind of interest I would rarely expect anyone to show based on a $10 purcahse, they've gotten my loyalty.

Chris said...

Heck yeah... Any time I get even a modicum of Customer Service I'm impressed - and that ALWAYS leads to repeat business. When my wife and I get treated well we always make sure to call or e-mail the company and tell 'em - we're sure not shy about calling them when we get short-changed, so we make sure we're not shy in spreading kudos, either.

(My word verification is "puiuubud." That's about the same sound a wing bone makes when you spit it back on the plate...)

Anonymous said...

As a formwe BWW employee in MN, I can confirm that, internally, BWW does try hard to retain guests. Problem in doing that is, they expect PERFECTION every second of every day from EVERY employee, and there is NO room for "coaching", just discipline. A good analogy I would use is the "Cinderella" analogy; The employees and management are Cinderella, and the big company is the "Evil Stepmother". Too bad more of you guests don't see that, but why would it matter, as long as they can retain you as a guest, thats all that matters, at least to them. Too much corporate restaurant baloney,and politcs in the country these days, and it shows with their loyalty to their employees. But, at least for the most part, the loyalty to the guests will always be there. Just don't plan on ever looking at BWW the same way if you, or one of your loved ones is ever employed by them, because you will not have the same"rosy" picture of Buffalo Wild Wings, thats for sure.