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. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Cake Looks Different (Praline Cheesecake from Coffee Bean)

Look at the picture above; what is your first impression on it? Looks good right? Not only is the praline oh-my-goodness thick, the side of the cake looks so lusciously creamy! Overall, it looks like a cake to die for!

Thats EXACTLY wat i thought when i saw the cake of the month (Praline Cheesecake) in the website of Coffee Bean.

Hence, i made a suggestion to my colleagues; why don't we order this out-of-the-heaven cake for the monthly birthday babies? Of course its a YES~! A resounding YES!

Fast forward to the date of collection; I remember the exact scene on 12 September 2008 at around 9am in Coffee Bean Holland Village branch. The male staff opened the box; i looked at it; i looked at him and i looked at the cake sitting in the box again.

I exclaimed :"It looks different from the website!". The male staff looked at the cake sitting idly in the box and looked at me. "You ordered for praline cheesecake right". I looked at him and then looked irritating at the cake :"Yes i did but the cake in the website looks very different".

"But this is praline cheesecake" he replied. My brain was thinking "you dun visit your company website right?" Anyway, to keep the story short; i saw in the display, another praline cheesecake and it LOOKED exactly the same as the one im collecting.

Disappointment was an under-statement of how i was feeling then. I felt betrayed, i felt embarassed (becoz i suggested the cake) and i felt frustrated (celebration to begin in an hour time)!

Sighz......... What to do; its not exactly the guy's fault and everyone knows what a nice, understanding guy i am. Who knows, maybe the cake would taste suprisingly great!

As a good story goes, i am wrong........... again.

Although i have no complaint on the taste, the supposedly solid-looking praline was actually flakes of them and the cake was so difficult to cut! Chunks of it dropped out the moment the knife (provided with the cake) cut through. Not only that, the cake had a tendency to stick themselves to the knife! It improved slightly after i used a fork to stabilise the whole procedure (please do inform me for a demonstration, if you are interested).

I might not have cut a lot of cakes but this is the most challenging one (and hopefully the last) i have and would ever cut.

On a final note, we shall always keep in mind this : "'The cakes might not look as good as they are in the website".