One customer’s Panera rant

One customer’s bad experience is unlikely to derail a successful company (think: chili-finger fiasco) and the internet is full of rants that don’t warrant attention. That said, this article shows the level of dissatisfaction customers have when their expectations aren’t met. The author’s experience was especially frustrating because she escalated her complaint to management and found herself passed from person to person, with no one taking ownership or resolving the problem.

I agree with the ranter on this point:

As with any offering, if you won’t deliver it willingly and you can’t deliver it well, you shouldn’t offer it at all.  Because when you create customer expectations with an offering, you lose points when you fail to meet those customer expectations.

People love to talk about their horrendously bad and amazingly good experiences. These stories spread and influence other customers’ perception of the brand and likelihood of purchase. I’m less likely to eat at Panera (more turned off by the sanitation issues than the wifi ones, honestly) after reading this article, but more likely to buy from Apple after hearing a friend’s story about his amazingly good experience. He took a faulty iPod adapter to an Apple store and the technicians couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so they gave him a new one. They didn’t even care that he’d bought it on Amazon!

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