If you’re anything like us, for the past week you’ve subsided on nothing but Seamless deliveries and bodega plantain chips while restaurants were closed during Sandy. And even while many of the restaurants in New York City and New Jersey are still struggling to recover, Seamless kept plugging along, allowing people to happily order cheap Chinese takeout and Indian curries through the internet — even during the worst of the hurricane. How the heck did that happen?
Fast Company sat down with their CEO, Jonathan Zabusky, to discover how they’d managed to keep everyone’s goodwill. The short answer: lower expectations, then exceed them.
“We can know ahead of time if a restaurant isn’t going to be able to keep up with their delivery estimate timeframe,” Zabusky says. “So in the case of certain neighborhoods with a lot of closings, we proactively raised the delivery estimates for the restaurants that were still open.”
What he found was that as Seamless elongated the expected delivery timelines, it saw a significant decrease in inbound complaint calls because peoples’ expectations were more realistic.
“If you tell someone their order is going to be there in an hour and it gets there sooner, they’ll be much more likely to have their expectations met,” he says.
Also: from the outset, make sure that everyone in your company is trained to deal with customers, even your IT people. And finally, keep your eyes on Twitter. Sure, it’s mostly full of inane observations and scathing one-liners, but during huge disasters and newsworthy events, it’s an incredible information resource.
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