Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

May 23, 2008

Customer Service That DOESN’T End When The Customer Has Paid!

(If you’re unfamiliar with the concept behind Front2Back 2Front please go here to read the explanation in the launch issue. of The Marketing Edge)

During our year and a half stay in Wisconsin we spent a significant amount of time working from our ‘virtual office’. Okay, it was more an unofficial virtual office, but it’s fair to say that at least two afternoons a week were spent in a comfy corner of the local Panera Bread Bakery Café. Not just because their food and coffee were so good, or because they offer free wifi access at all their locations.

The real reason we kept on going back was because Panera staff understand the basic principle behind Front2Back2Front – customer service doesn’t end when the customer has paid. To illustrate: One day we ordered coffee to ‘drink in’ and it arrived in takeaway mugs. We didn’t say anything but five minutes later the manager stopped at our table with a voucher for two free coffees – he had noticed and didn’t want us quietly taking our dissatisfaction away with us.

On another occasion I handed in a duly-stamped ‘Buy Six Get One Free’ card to claim my free drink, and asked for a new, blank card. They didn’t have any blanks, so the counter-clerk gave me back my full card to use again next time – with a smile!

There are so many of those stories that it’s hard to choose the most powerful – and we only spent a short amount of time in the area. I would love to know how Panera manage to get it so right. If you’re ever near a Panera Bread, stop on in – you won’t be disappointed; and if they ever migrate across the Atlantic, we’ll be first in line!


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