Like many people, we found that last year’s lockdown led to us looking for an alternative to our Saturday night out. Therefore, we started having a takeaway followed by a film. It was like having a restaurant followed by cinema, but all in our own home.

One of the first takeaways we ordered was through one of the “big name” delivery services (who I won’t name here!) and it was a bit of a disaster. And what got on our nerves was not so much the fact that the order was messed up and one of our children didn’t get a meal, but the fact that they just didn’t care and wouldn’t even refund the meal we missed out on.

After a year of sticking to their competitors, I was offered a voucher with “50% off” and thought “let’s give them another go”. And I’m wishing I didn’t.

Louise and I ordered an Indian meal for £40. The voucher was capped at £15 so we should have paid £25. But when the charge hit my card, we noticed that they’d charged the full £40.

When I tried to get in touch, I was told that I couldn’t use the App as my percentage of complaints was above the normal. I had complained 100% of the time, so I guess they were right, but it didn’t really help with my customer experience.

So I got in touch through the website and was told that they had not applied the voucher because I breached the terms and conditions. I asked what the breach was, and was told that I’d set up multiple accounts to use multiple vouchers, which simply wasn’t true.

They did finally accept that I could have the £15 off and said they’d credit the full £40 and then recharge my card with £25.

However, they then charged me £2,500.

As an accountant, I understand the difference that a decimal place can make and that’s quite a big difference!

I got back in touch and was told, with no apology, that they would refund the £2,500 within 5 working days.

Again, what was frustrating was the fact that there was no apology or acceptance that this was quite an issue. I did ultimately get the money back, but it has made me vow never to use them again.

In the same week (and not that I’m a serial complainer – honestly), I had some wine delivered from Naked Wine, who I subscribe to. I get cases delivered and they ask you to rate each of the wines. And one of the wines was not very nice, so I simply rated it a one out of five.

Within seconds, I received a message on their app and an email to apologise that I  didn’t like the wine and to say I had been refunded the full amount.  I was almost embarrassed because I genuinely wasn’t fishing for a refund. I buy wine off them regularly throughout the year and, if one bottle isn’t to my taste every now and then, so be it.

Compared to the takeaway, it wasn’t even their “fault”, but they reacted in a smart way to keep me happy.

The way the two businesses treated me was entirely different and has led me feeling totally different about the two of them. One of them – I’m vowing never to use again. The other has increased my loyalty to them. And I’m raving about Naked Wines to everyone else as well.

It really hammers home what a huge difference the way you deal with your customers can make to your business.

Treat them badly and they won’t buy from you again. Treat them well and they’ll stay forever.

And was the takeaway any good? Well, even for £2,500 they forgot to include the rice!

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