This will be our last post of 2015, and it’s the most-read Foodie Friday post from this year. Since writing this post, I’ve actually met Big Al himself. He enjoyed the post almost as much as I enjoyed his food. Have a happy and safe New Year and we’ll see you on the other side of December!
Foodie Friday, and our food fun this week comes from a restaurant in which I’ve never eaten but of which I am a customer. A very happy customer, actually, and my happiness is all due to an excellent lesson in customer care.
Big Al’s BBQ & Catering is located in Raleigh. As Al’s website proclaims:
We aren’t the cheapest Carolina BBQ vendor, but we guarantee freshness and award-winning flavors you can’t find anywhere. Period. Come eat with us, or call in and order out! We’ll pack your plate just fine.
Honestly, I’ve not done that. What I have done is to order merchandise from him. You see, my Dad is also called Big Al and I thought it would be a fun surprise to send him a shirt and a hat bearing the Big Al name and logo. I placed an online order and entered my parents’ address for shipping. After a week when I hadn’t received an excited call from Florida I began to wonder about the status of my order. It was then that I noticed the receipt said “local pickup” meaning they were waiting for me to walk into their store and grab the goods.
I emailed the address from which the receipt came explaining that there had been a mix-up. Within 20 minutes I had a note back from Al himself explaining that he had tried to text me (I had used a land line on the order) to ask about shirt color and was glad I had sent the note. Here is where the lesson begins.
A quick exchange of emails to furnish the correct shipping address concluded with Al saying “I’ll get that out to you.” No long explanation, no haggling over if the error was on my end or on his. Just “I’ll get that out to you. ” This morning, I received a text – “Going to ship your Dad’s package this morning priority mail…I am picking up the freight for all your troubles.”
If you take one thing away from the roughly 1,700 screeds I’ve written I hope it’s the rock-solid focus on the customer Al demonstrated. Heck, I’m some schlub from out-of-state that ordered a shirt and hat. I’m not going to be coming in weekly for food. Al treated me as I assume he does everyone – with respect, an assumption that the customer is right, and a willingness to go the extra mile.
If you are ever near Raleigh I hope you’ll hit Big Al’s for a meal. Order out if you can. Tell your friends to go. Even if you have other dining plans, do me a favor and swing by and let him know you admire his customer-centric focus. I sure do. I wonder if he can ship ribs to Connecticut?