Add my spoiled Spam
to the fried towel, missing burger

Or why I remain a loyal customer of brands
with good customer service

The author is a Jollibee regular even when she's in New York.

Blame it on the pandemic, but some people have lost their mindfulness—being fully present and aware of where we are and what we’re doing—which has led to inferior quality of service. But these things happen; I myself am not always mindful. It takes a lot of practice and self-awareness. Having said that, I understand how sometimes things go wrong in our workplace: a fried towel here, a missing burger patty there, and a can of spoiled Spam.

Jollibee’s fried towel is a hot topic, and some say Jollibee could have done better with its apology. For me, it is what it is. There is no better, no worse apology. I learned that the sincerest apology is saying the words “I’m sorry.” You don’t even have to explain because it just makes it seem like you’re justifying the apology. You do, however, have to do something about it when you can, while you can, without waiting for it to blow up. Sadly, people are so quick to judge and are very opinionated about what they see on social media. Positivity can go a long way these days.

Facebook post on the now infamous Jollibee fried towel incident

Jollibee’s official statement (with no real apology)

I am far from being an expert in customer service, as I simply lack the skills (and the patience) to deal with customers. “The customer is always right” just does not sit well with me. But I am a very good customer; I stay loyal—so loyal that I’ve been a Globe subscriber since Nokia 5110 (as in 1998).

I’m a loyal Globe subscriber because its customer service is good. I say it’s good because its intake process is good—a real person (not a bot, not an automated service) is within reach. I especially prefer going directly to Globe stores if I want things resolved right then and there.

We called the branch about the missing burger patty, and within 30 minutes they sent over a cheeseburger, with free fries, Coke and apple pie

Last week, my niece ordered a cheeseburger from McDonalds, and we received a sandwich with no burger patty. We called the branch, and within 30 minutes they sent over a cheeseburger, with free fries, Coke and apple pie. They had me at the apple pie. And because of this, I will stay loyal to McDonalds. Just kidding—I’m not a fan of fastfood, but kudos to McDo for its customer service.

The author’s patty-less cheeseburger from McDonalds

Since the lockdown in March, I’ve been ordering my groceries online, and Landers Superstore is my default store. Its online merchandise is well-stocked, and it always delivers on time. Even during GCQ (general community quarantine), I decided just to keep ordering groceries online, as it served me well. However, just recently I bought some Spam, and I received a dented can with liquid seeping out. When I opened it (I should have just thrown it straight away!), it smelled so bulok I probably won’t be eating Spam for a long time.

It wasn’t my intention to shame them on social media. It was really a test of how they would handle the situation, given that customer service is on everyone’s radar these days because of the fried towel incident.

I emailed their website, and sent a direct message on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. Within 24 hours I received a call, and they settled the matter immediately with a sincere apology, a refund, and a voucher. Again, good customer service is why I would stay loyal to Landers.

Here in Manila, I tried to return a damaged item, and they asked, ‘Why are you returning it?—while looking at me as if I damaged the item myself

In the US, the land of consumerism, the customer service is excellent. So excellent in fact that some customers even abuse it. Once, I didn’t receive an order from Amazon, and they immediately refunded the full amount, and even sent me the product at no cost—no questions asked. In retail outlets, you can return an item, again with no questions. Just show them the receipt and hand them the item. Here in Manila, I tried to return a damaged item, and they asked, “Why are you returning it?” and inspected the item so meticulously, while looking at me as if I damaged the item myself. But I do understand there are customers who would abuse the returns policy. My uncle, who used to work in a high-end department store in New York City, told me how one customer tried to return an item from a collection a few seasons ago, obviously used, and how they had no choice but to accept it.

There are many other instances, but to me, good customer service is simply being accessible. If I can reach you and feel that I am not just another anonymous consumer to you, then trust that I will stay loyal to your brand. A brand that speaks to me is a brand that knows what I need.

Read more:

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Truffle recipes you can follow

Buttermilk biscuits not as easy as I thought

My K-drama-inspired spring rolls

Lola made her ketchup; I made my own mayonnaise

Cinnamon rolls: Back on #ECQEats

Easiest meal: Grilled steak in pita

I cheated making my sourdough bread

This baked feta pasta had over 90M views on Tiktok

The Oarhouse burger + The Diarist’s brioche bun—a very limited edition

About author


Spanning two decades of a career in publishing, she began to see the lockdown as a priceless boon – for it has given her the leisure of unleashing her potential as an amateur baker, writer, and digital publisher.

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