Now to Pick on Church’s Chicken

by Chris McGinty of

Nathan wrote a blog post
yesterday that is strangely near and dear to my heart. I really don’t
understand the concept of working a customer service job if you don’t default
to serving customers. The quick version of Nathan’s post, which you can read here, is that after taking his order and handing him his order, one of the
Popeyes Chicken locations awkwardly let Nathan surrender his order based
solely on the fact that he didn’t have enough cash on hand after their credit
card machine broke down.. The corporate side of Popeyes then didn’t reply to
Nathan’s online complaint.

Here’s your order, Nathan… psyche.
I have a belief about customer service,
which is that even if you have a policy that has a valid reason behind it, you
should do everything in your power to make sure that that policy is felt
positively by your customer base. (Example: Learning that AAA Roadside
Assistance ignores the mileage limit in favor of a call limit is something I
should know every time I call, not when I’m stuck on the side of the road.
There is a reason for the policy, but I’ll feel better if I learn it when I
still have three calls, two calls, and one call left than when I’m broke down
at 3 am and have no calls left.)
At AAA Roadside, we get so tired of being helpful that we love to explain to you why we’re not going to help you, but not as much as we love explaining why it’s your fault that you’re stranded.
Let me explain the cost of a true
feel bad moment to your business. I started back delivering for Pizza Hut in
2015 after taking a short six year hiatus from delivering pizza. There was a
nearby Church’s Chicken, and my flavor palette was in tune with chicken in that
moment, whether I was eating at home or picking up fast food.
Once a week, before the dinner
rush, I would stop and get me some delicious Church’s Chicken. Just like Nathan
said in his post, that’s the sad part. I genuinely like their food. I did this
for three or four months straight, once a week.
One day, I pulled up to the
speaker and made my order. I then called by friend, and former band mate, Oz,
back since I’d missed a call from him. This detail is important, because it
meant that I had an exact amount of time that it took me to get to the window
based on how long my call with Oz was at. It was ten and a half minutes. This
was a little frustrating, but I somewhat understood because the people in front
of me had three bags of food. Mine was two pieces of chicken and a roll, so I
was just upset with my timing pulling up to the drive-thru more than with the
crew at Church’s Chicken, at least at that moment.
I pulled forward. The window was
open, so probably letting flies in (listen, I can take a cheap jab here) and I
listened to the employees having a conversation. And then I listened to them
continue their conversation. I sat there for a minute and a half, and then said
to Oz, “They haven’t even acknowledged that I’m sitting here.” And they still
didn’t. I told Oz I was giving them thirty seconds more. Then I drove off.
Even if they had to cook more
chicken or something after the big order, the point is that they didn’t even
come to the window and say, “Hey, sorry about the delay.” Or, “Hi.” They didn’t
even look my way and tell me to go fuck myself. Nothing.
At Church’s Chicken we’re so committed to quality that after every order we convene an emergency store meeting.
It’s been four years, and I haven’t
gone back to Church’s Chicken. I go to Lisa’s Chicken. I go to Williams
Chicken. Unlike Nathan, I didn’t give Church’s Chicken a chance to fix their
mistake, because I didn’t want an apology from someone sitting at a desk
somewhere handing out coupons like he’s some sort of poultry Santa Claus. I
called the Church’s Chicken customer service line and explained to the
recording (where a live person might have had a 10% chance of saving the
situation – make your saving throw vs. customer being an asshole, you’re
rolling with a penalty, because he has a valid reason to be an asshole) that I
was ignored at the drive-thru and that I wouldn’t be returning to Church’s
until I forget it happened, or want their food more than my memory cares about.
Here’s my point. Church’s never
had a chance with me. I’m obstinate. Nathan reached out to Popeyes Chicken. He
gave them every chance to fix what amounted to an awkward situation where an
underpaid employee didn’t know what to do when something went wrong. Nathan
just wanted a feel good moment to balance his feel bad moment, but all he got
was a second feel bad moment.
Regardless of what your business
is, you do whatever it takes to serve your customers. If there is ever a reason
that you can’t provide good service to your customers, you need to do
everything you can to make sure they walk away feeling like you were on their
Chris McGinty is a blogger who
was so irritated by how long it took Axl Rose to release “Chinese Democracy”
that he decided he would wait just as long as it took Axl to make the album
before he listened to the album. Only two more years left of his thirteen year

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