I've been going through phases at work where I feel less than appreciated, like I'm left out of the managerial loop. I recently was asked to write an email to an upset guest after we took her favorite item off the menu:
From: Troubled Guest
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 3:32 PM
Subject: Comment - Green Chile Barbacoa Enchiladas
Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend at your Costa Mesa, CA location. I always, always, always order the green chili pork enchiladas, as they are my absolute favorite item on the menu and the ONLY reason why I eat lunch or dinner at Z's.
I was disappointed to learn that the green chili pork enchiladas, have been taken off the menu and replaced with green chili barbacoa enchiladas. I decided to try the barbacoa enchiladas and I was extremely disappointed in not only the enchiladas, but the green chili rice and black beans. I was used to getting other side dishes with the green chili pork enchiladas and wasn't expecting black beans and rice and apparently, that was my fault for not reading the menu more closely. Regardless, I was disappointed in the taste, the presentation and the combination of the three items. Needless to say, I will not be back for lunch or dinner.
I do frequent [Z's] for happy hour and may return, but definitely not for lunch or dinner. Your cornbread is the best I've ever tasted!
"Jeff, take care of this," I was told. So I wrote the nicest email I could muster.
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 5:59 PM
To: Troubled guest
Please accept our sincerest apologies in regard to your previous visit to our store. The Green Chile Pork Enchiladas was a popular dish among our regulars, and much to the dismay of many, we removed that item from the menu during our last menu change. You may be surprised to learn that, although we no longer have the item on our menu, we still do have all of the ingredients on hand to make the dish the way you prefer it, including the appropriate side salad, instead of green chile rice & black beans. You would have to order it by special request, but it’s an easy request that we would be more than happy to accommodate.
Please reconsider your position on coming back to us for lunch or dinner, so we can make right the unfortunate meal you had last time. It would be my pleasure, and the pleasure of the entire management staff, to take care of your next order of green chile pork enchiladas. Please call us ahead of time at (***) ***-****, so we can reserve a nice spot in our dining room for you.
On behalf of the management staff, thank you for your understanding, and we hope to see you very soon.
We forwarded it to Deborah in marketing at the home office, because the complaint came by way of her. Here's what she had to say:
From: Deborah (Head of Marketing)
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 6:06 PM
To: South Coast
Subject: FW: Z's
This is a great letter. It truly is one of the nicest and most sincere letters I’ve seen. And thanks for the quick response!
She then forwarded it to Steven, our company's COO, and the guy that signs our checks.
Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2009 5:09 PM
To: South Coast
Subject: FW: Z's
Jeff- Thank you for the professional and caring response to this guest. This is an example of living the Journey. Much appreciated. See you soon. S
"The Journey" is our company's philosophy, in the form of a little handbook with our ideals. I even received a section in this week's newsletter about how happy this woman was with how the situation was handled. I wanted a little bit of a smile back from this company I dedicate my time and energy to, and it really reaffirmed my enjoyment of this job.