Let me explain.
I read all reviews that come into Manhattan Fruitier from customers and recipients. The positive reviews affirm that we’re doing what we set out to do, namely, make the most beautiful, highest quality fresh fruit and food gifts and provide exemplary service. A review saying that a gift was well-received means that the gift communicated the gift giver’s sentiment and met expectations for quality, taste and appearance.
Bad reviews, which are infrequent but inevitable when you send out 30,000 gifts a year, present a challenge. They give us an opportunity to improve our performance and also, more critically, strengthen our relationship with those customers by showing them that we stand behind our product and service, and that we will right a wrong. Any company’s greatest concern should be losing customers who have a problem but never complain to you. We welcome the opportunity to address a complaint, make the customer whole, and hopefully keep the customer. If you handle a complaint well, then you often end up with a more committed customer. I think it’s a matter of trust confirmed by action.
One thing we do is allow our customers to decide what remedy suits them. We ask, “What can we do to make this right?” We’ve found over many years of business that people are very reasonable in their formulating their own remedies. Some customers want a refund, others want a replacement sent. We are amenable. I can’t understand companies that are stingy responding to customer complaints. As a purely financial matter it’s less expensive to address the complaint of an existing customer than to go out and find a new customer.
Bad reviews may relate to product, customer service or delivery. Here’s how we handle each of these areas:
Product: If there is an issue with product quality, then we try to isolate the problem. We want to hear the specifics. If there’s a bad piece of fruit, we want to know the exact fruit. Then we can remove it from our selection, even if it’s only temporary. For instance, a batch of peaches may be problematic because they are harvested too early. We’ll take them off the line until we find better peaches.
Customer Service: For customer service complaints, we try to track the problem back to the individual customer service representative or interactions that led to the problem. We never pick a fight with a customer. Our Manager of Customer Service, David Landeros, is perhaps the nicest person in the world (at least our world) and he teaches our people to listen to the complaint, acknowledge there’s been a problem, genuinely apologize to the customer and try to make it right. One caveat: I do not believe that the customer is always right. We can only take responsibility for what we control (that includes third party vendors we use, like UPS) and the mistakes we make. We won’t do more than that.
Delivery: Delivery problems are inevitable, especially when the weather comes into play. Missed deliveries are easy to take care of. We can send out another gift or refund the customer. But here’s an example of a more difficult problem we faced last week. We use an outside delivery service for some of our local deliveries around NYC. Inexplicably, one of their delivery people was rude to the receptionist at a delivery location. We received a telephone call from the receptionist about incident. Here’s what we did: Lauren and I snail mailed a personal apology to the receptionist. Our Manager of Expediting spoke face-to-face with the owner of the outside delivery company and told him that that particular driver should never deliver another gift for Manhattan Fruitier and that if any other driver behaved badly we would terminate our relationship with his company. Finally, Lauren telephoned the customer directly to tell her what had happened with the delivery and what we did about it. The customer did not know about the offending event, but was grateful to hear about it directly from us. I’d like to think that we increased this customer’s level of trust in Manhattan Fruitier.
Anyway, keep the reviews coming – good and bad.