We just wanted our sandwiches!

Fridays at the office are not only wonderful because it’s the end of the week, but because there’s free lunch! I was in charge of ordering lunch for the whole team and decided upon a local sandwich chain down the street from the office. I called on Thursday afternoon to learn the best process for sending an order of 20 sandwiches to them and they confirmed with:

1. Make sure we have the order faxed to us by 10am.

2. Include the type of bread, fixings, etc.

Easy enough!

So, I generate a pretty document that includes a table with all the orders and their specifics. On Friday, the order was faxed by 10am to be completed around noon.

I head down to the shop around 11:50am just in case they were done early.

I open the door and the store is swamped with people in line. I approach the counter and say I’m  here for the 20 sandwich “Office Order”. They look confused. I say, “Um, I called and confirmed?”

The employee, a teenager, shrugs and says, “It has to be sent by 10am.” I state that I sent it prior to 10am today and received confirmation it went through. The employee then goes to his coworkers to double check, then says, “Oh, we thought you were a different order.”. They are standing in the back, talking and laughing. They come out and one of the others says, “Well, let me check the fax again.” He pulls out a jam of paper stuck in the fax machine.

“Oh, here is your order. Well, we have a big line so we have to get to that first, then we can make your sandwiches. It will take about 20 minutes, is that OK?”

I nod and sit down at a table to wait.

20 minutes passes by. The workers say, “Sorry, we’re working on it!”

30 minutes. They say again, “We’re almost done.”

40 minutes. And, again, “Alright, almost ready.”

I’m trying to be patient, and continued to smile and nod, but it’s now 12:40pm and lunch should have been at the office by noon.

Eventually, the sandwiches are completed at around 1:20pm. I figured that since the fax jam was their error (shouldn’t they be checking this, there were other orders in there too) and that I called, that I might get a discount. No empathy at all when paying; it was literally a “Ok thanks!” and a shove out the door attitude.

I return to the office and several of the sandwiches were made incorrectly. Frustrated, I call the store and ask to speak to a manager, who apparently is not available.

I then email the sandwich chain headquarters to file a report.

I never receive any email reply, however.

Several weeks later, I receive a generic apology letter in the mail with a $5 off coupon.

Needless to say, to this day, I never eat at this sandwich chain. And, our office will never order from them again.

What could have fixed this issue for me:

1. Discount on the order OR free sandwiches

2. At least a serious apology/empathy from the employees OR a call/email from the manager at a later date

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Have you ever found yourself a victim to a situation like this? How important is empathy to you in these situations? How important is some sort of reimbursement? Would you feel more respected as a customer to receive a follow up/apology from the manager?

Jenny Dempsey is the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. With over a decade of customer service experience, Jenny has been recognized through social media channels as a thought leader. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on the Customer Service Life. When she's not helping or singing to customers, she is studying to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Be sure to check out DempseyWellness.org and follow her on social media!

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