Picture this. You’re in your favourite restaurant with a group of friends, eagerly awaiting your meal. Everyone else at your table receives their meal, except for you. It eventually arrives 15 minutes later, but it’s loaded with the ingredient you specifically asked to be excluded. When you finally manage to flag down your server, it goes back to the kitchen, but its replacement doesn’t arrive for another 15 minutes. Then to top it off, your drink is spilled in your lap.
At this point, what would you do?
Did texting the manager cross your mind?
A new service called Talk to the Manager allows restaurant-goers to anonymously complain to the restaurant owner via text. “Every cellphone is a comment card”, their website boasts. The rationale behind the service is that management has direct (and confidential) access to complaints, rather than scouring nasty public reviews on sites like Yelp or Urbanspoon.
When I first heard about this service, my initial reaction was that it seemed a little ridiculous. What happened to speaking to people directly? We are increasingly placing more and more layers of technology between customers and businesses in the name of efficiency and improvement.
That being said, a few years ago, could you imagine “tweeting” your complaints to a company? There is no question that Twitter has become the new frontline of customer service. In fact, I would not be surprised if social media eclipses the traditional call centre as the preferred method of contact.
Are services like “Talk to the Manager” just the latest evolution of customer service? And, would more people offer feedback in an anonymous fashion? Perhaps managers would finally hear from the non-confrontational customers who might otherwise have kept quiet. Of course this type of service would be more suitable to some industries than others. (How’s my driving? Text 555-4435)
As a retailer, would you appreciate a service like this?
Do receive feedback from customers? Are text-feedback systems just the latest evolution of customer service?