On a recent trip to the organic foods grocery store we decided to purchase a dairy/gluten free macaroni and cheese product for our kids. There were a number of different brands to choose from but in the end we chose a product that had middle of the road pricing. A few days later, we made macaroni and cheese for lunch and served it to both our son and daughter. The looks on their faces were priceless – it’s as though they had sucked on a lemon. The product tasted horrible! In this case because we paid $4 for mac and cheese we felt it was important to let the product manufacturer know it was not very appetizing. My wife filled out a quick online form to let them know about our poor experience. As well, we followed up with the grocery store to make them aware.
A few weeks later, we received a package in the mail with 2 free boxes of macaroni and cheese from the product manufacturer. “Are you kidding me?” asks my wife. How could this company have gotten our taste concerns so completely wrong that they decided to spend $16.50 on postage and send us the very same product that tasted terrible?
There is a valuable lesson to be learned here – listen to the customer. We didn’t want a free product or to be reimbursed our $4. We just wanted them to know that the product was not appetizing. A response acknowledging our concern and a simple one liner to say that they will strive to improve our products would have been sufficient. In the past, I’ve made a point to call a customer to discuss their product/service concerns and just having someone listen to them was often enough to diffuse the situation and in very rare cases even agree to disagree in a respectful manner.