Thursday, September 18, 2008

Follow-Up to The Cake Looks Different (Praline Cheesecake from Coffee Bean)

Just to keep all of you updated; Before i posted the blog entry dated Wednesday, September 17, 2008, i have in fact sent a feedback letter to our dear customer service in Coffeebean.

And they were really customer-centric; since e Production Director (PD) gave me a call personally this afternoon, during my well-deserved lunch break. I am impressed by this kind gesture since i did not really expect a reply at all.

However, even though PD gave me a full explanation of what "might" have inspired the disappointing experience, i am not altogether accepting his version. You may read further for the full rebuttal.

1) PD explained that cheesecakes have always been difficult to cut and it would be recommended to wet the knife with hot water before proceed.

Rebuttal = I have cut cheesecakes before; it was definitely not the first time and many of those present would attest to the difficulty level. But well, i appreciate the suggestion.

2) PD reasoned that there would always be slight difference between picture and the actual thing; he used the example of McMuffin, which is bigger in the advertisement but smaller in fact

Rebuttal = I understand and seriously dun mind slight difference but i think the difference is pretty obvious (please look to my previous post for explaination). Of coz, the decoration (those thingies on the cake) was an additional beautifying difference.

3) PD further dissuaded me from posting the pictures up on the website for comments as he believed it would be detrimental to the reputation.

Rebuttal = For one, it is freedom of speech (with no racial or political elements) and secondly, my purpose is not to destroy the reputation of Coffee Bean but to let the production team understand that they have to deliver what they promise on the website.

4) PD further explained that my photos are of an amateur nature and hence, it would definitely look poor compared to a well-taken one (like the one posted on their website)

Rebuttal = Nil, since i have to admit i am indeed an amateur. But i am hurt.

5) PD offered me a cake in exchange.

Rebuttal = Nil since PD was really sincere in asking me to try out their cakes again and not to let this bad experience affects future patronising. Personally, i dun really approve this gesture; it seems to imply that customers who feedback/complain would always get something in return, which is not encouraging in the customer service industry. I used to be in customer service and can truly attest to the attitudes of "you-must-give-me-something-in-return"

6) The one that really made my day 'hot'. PD explained that pictures may differ from actual cakes; he recommended that i VISIT the outlets first before ordering the cakes.

Rebuttal = Seriously, if staff undertake the view above, then please; do not allow your customers the 'opoorunity' to order your cakes online. CLOSE the website and ask all your customers to order personally at your outlets or via phone (where they cannot see the cake and hence, will not be disappointed with the appearance). Alternatively, do not provide any photos or pictures of those cakes. It would save the company and the consumers some unnecessary troubles and inconvenience, if any.

Overall, i still feel honored that CoffeeBean took the trouble to call a disgruntled customer (me). But i wonder if the whole conversation could be better managed if it was handled by a designated customer service officer. Not to say that i felt insulted, since PD was really apologetic (albeit with unnnecessary and sometimes contradicting excuses).

The last i checked my email; PD had sent me the voucher for a free replacement. Sweet but not necessary. 


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