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The Keg vs Volkswagon – Two Tales of Customer Service

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Tales of customer service woes are prime fodder for the blogosphere so I wanted to share a positive and a negative customer experience. The first involves a recent encounter I had with The Keg restaurant. The second involves my girlfriend’s encounter with Volkswagen.

The Good – The Keg

 The Set Up: Over the past couple weeks I have been planning my best friend’s bachelor party that is happening this weekend. Part of the festivities involve a group dinner for all the participants. I intended for this dinner to take place at the Keg. I made some calls on Monday to local Keg restaurants. At the first, I was told they didn’t take reservations at all on Saturday. Disappointing, but okay. I called a second location and was told that while they did take reservations, they didn’t have the facilities (ie group dining rooms) to accommodate a group of this size (25 or so). I asked whether they could take a reservation and just make sure we were all at adjacent tables. I was told they couldn’t guarantee this. Disappointed, I went ahead and made plans with another restaurant. But not before I share my thoughts on this through the guest feedback interface on their website.

The Response: On Wednesday, I received a call from The Keg’s Director of Operations for Toronto and Montreal. I didn’t get the call, but he left a voicemail saying he’d like to discuss my comments and he gave me his mobile number so I could reach him. I returned his voicemail Thursday morning and he got back in touch with me within an hour. He was in meetings all day, but took advantage of a gap to give me a call.

He acknowledged I had some valid points, including things they had been considering (group dining, reservations on Saturday, etc…). He then asked if I had made plans as he had taken the liberty of speaking to people at the first location I called (the one that didn’t that reservations on Saturday) and said that he had made arrangements for them to pull some table together so they could accommodate my group.

The Outcome: Though plans have already been made, I appreciate the quick response, the acknowledgement of my concerns and the fact that he went to extra lengths to see if they could accommodate the group. As a result, my earlier feelings of frustration have been soothed and I am left with a very positive feeling about The Keg.

The Bad – Volkswagen (VW)

The Set Up: My girlfriend owns a Volkswagen Jetta which she bought second hand and has had for a few years. Recently, the car had been ‘acting up’ – mysterious lights started to be illuminated on the dashboard. Late last week, she received a notice saying that the problems she was experiencing we due to a faulty part that they were now issuing a recall for. Her car was already at the garage, for this very problem. In fact, the problem had become so severe that the car wouldn’t start. The mechanic got the part (or so it seemed) from the VW dealership which was located a couple blocks away. Once replaced, the car still didn’t work and my girlfriend went to ask questions of the VW people.

The Response: As the car was still not working, my girlfriend went over to the dealership to get some answers. Turns out, the mechanic was knowingly sold the faulty part so they could make sure they had enough in stock to handle the recall. They also told her that they while they would install the new part, they would not reimburse her for the charges she incurred as a result of not being able to bring the car to the dealership in the first place (I remind you that she couldn’t get it there b/c the car wouldn’t start…due to the faulty part). This issue has since been escalated to VW’s offices and now, 5 days later, there hasn’t been a peep from VW…not even a "we’re looking into the matter and will get back to you shortly".

The Outcome: One pissed off and out-of-pocket, VW customer.

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Written by Jonathan Dunn

June 14, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Posted in Marketing, Soap Box

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