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I’m a very positive guy. So it|Therefore it saddens me that lots of of my customer care observations give attention to bad examples and what not to do. Since I’d rather find and write about samples of fabulous customer care, it’s become my passion in life to work towards most people thinking that customer care generally is fairly good (the opposite is now true). Then I’d see great customer support everywhere!

For those who don’t know or don’t live in a state blessed with el Pollo Loco, they have the best flame broiled chicken on the planet. I’ve been enjoying it for pretty much twenty years.

However, their customer support varies wildly from store-to-store. Get the wrong store and you may want to strangle a worker or two. Some workers fail to grasp including the most rudimentary customer service principles.

And after years of searching, I finally found my favorite el Pollo Loco franchise. It’s a bit farther away from my home, but it’s worth heading out of my way to get good service. I even wrote the company and told the district manager how great this store was, especially compared to other branches. Things was going great, they knew me there, and I loved eating their chicken. Unfortunately, I had an event yesterday evening that has got me to reevaluate these positive feelings.

So, yesterday I needed some Pollo Loco chicken for dinner following a late movie. I called my favorite location, with all the best service in town, to set a takeout order. I bought through after the phone rang for nearly 2 minutes. A staff member breathlessly answered the phone and after that asked basically if i could hold. “Sure!” I responded. Then, I waited, and waited, and waited.

I drove 8 miles in LA traffic, arrived at the store, and walked along with the telephone still ringing. I required to talk to the manager. He was on the register. I assumed that they had just forgotten me, that was not true. That they had decided not to answer my call because they were busy. So they allow me to sit, and sit, and sit down on hold.

Because they knew me, I asked them when they could view the phone was on hold. Yup. Oooops. I told them it had been me, which I was on hold for pretty much 10 minutes. What did the girl do? She walked over to the telephone and hung it up. Not a word of apology. After speaking with the employee, I went to the conclusion of the line to wait patiently my turn to talk to the manager. While I is in line, I really could notice that the worker as well as the manager were speaking about the phone call, my wait, and the whole mess.

I arrive at the front from the line as well as the manager says to me, “Hello, how have you been?” Seriously?! He already knew I was upset, yet he didn’t make his first words “I am so sorry for that mess.”

I told him the entire story, specifically the part about being hung high on with no word of apology. He turns to the person who hung high on me, says something, and she comes over and apologizes. He gives me some lame excuses about not knowing about the call, blah, blah, blah. It never occurs to him to apologize, he just denies responsibility for the actions of his troops.

I ask the manager why his employee waited to apologize until he told her to. And, it gets ugly. He lies for me. He says she doesn’t speak English adequately therefore she didn’t say anything. Which doesn’t make sense, she did a bbquiq job speaking to me and apologizing once he’d told her to.

Sorry to express, I had been angry and left without my chicken and my appetite.

Now, here is the moral of the story. When you screw up, just apologize. Then apologize again. Everyone. All the time. Be responsible for annoying a great, el Pollo Loco menu. You screwed up. So does everyone. Just apologize then take action extra making it right. In this case, buy me some chicken, produce a free of charge coupon, or something else to make it right. Chicken and rice costs him a nickel. My company is worth about $1000 a year, minimum. Is saving that biz worth an apology along with a little chicken? Yes.