Making it Happen Behind the Scenes
Meet Our Customer Care Team
Editor’s Note: The Square Deal would like to welcome Kate Bentley, Manager of Customer Care Operations – Social & Digital Media, to the blog! Kate describes her job as “something new and exciting every day” because she never knows what her team will hear from our customers. She loves to jump in and fix customer experiences that weren’t great, and enjoys celebrating the awesome experiences that happen every day at Wendy’s. Outside of her Wendy’s life, Kate is a military spouse, hockey mom, and a proud Ohio State Buckeye.
Ever wonder who’s at the other end replying to that tweet asking about our fresh, never frozen hamburgers*, or who’s taking calls when there’s an issue at hand? It’s our team of Customer Care Advocates, the behind the scenes heroes who help keep our customers happy. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and we value their feedback. A few years ago, we took a hard look at how we were engaging with our customers, and we realized we could do better. We were gathering information and data about their Wendy’s experience, but we weren’t building one-on-one relationships with our fans. We considered several different options, but realized no one could build relationships with our customers better than we could.
We made the decision to create an in-house Customer Care Center right here at our Restaurant Support Center, and hired Wendy’s employees to talk to our customers. We were deliberate in opening a variety of communication channels with our customers because we know that everyone is different. One customer may want very little interaction, so they shoot us a quick text with mostly emoji’s. Another customer may like the personal connection of a phone call to talk about their visit (and share details about the big promotion they just got). Our Customer Care Advocates are here to talk, listen, help celebrate great moments, and offer support in the not-so-great moments. Whether it be via phone call or Tweet, we’re here to listen.
I was excited for the opportunity to write this blog because it gave me a chance to highlight a few of our amazing Customer Care Advocates, who are the heart and soul of our daily operations. This includes: Crista Miller, a Senior Advocate who is committed to not only giving our customers a great experience, but training new Advocates on how to be the best; Corey Wetherby, a Lead Advocate on our social media team; and Alexandra Parache, who is new to our bilingual team and supporting our Spanish speaking customers. I asked them to share their thoughts about the brand, their role in Customer Care, and where they see us going in the next few years.
Why is customer service such a high priority to Wendy’s?
ALEXANDRA: Customer Care is a high priority because it is one of our only customer facing departments. We need to know how our customers feel about our products to ensure they continue to return to Wendy’s!
COREY: Absolutely everything we do revolves around our customers. Whether you are a restaurant team member, part of the Customer Care team, or are associated with the brand in any way, our ultimate goal is to make sure customers and those who support them are happy. If they’re not satisfied, we then have a unique opportunity to prove that we not only care about their feedback, but that we will act to ensure they are delighted on their next Wendy’s visit.
For customers who aren’t technology savvy (no Twitter, mobile app, etc.), how does the team gather their feedback and comments?
ALEXANDRA: Customer Care answers hundreds of phone calls every day and we still receive postal mail from customers, too! When customers reach out to us with any feedback, compliments or concerns, we do the best we can to accommodate their specific needs.
COREY: We use a number of traditional methods to reach our valued customers, including snail mail, phone calls (which is still our highest-volume channel for customer contact), as well as text messages. We also take advantage of email -- we find that even those who aren’t tech savvy are familiar with email. We try and ensure that we can be reached by everyone and anyone because that feedback ultimately helps us improve as a brand.
Name something about the Customer Care job that no one knows.
CRISTA: Customer Care Advocates are brand ambassadors. Some customer interactions are short and sweet, while others take time. Our team communicates with customers of all ages from teenagers using Facebook or Twitter to elderly customers who may have decided to complete our customer satisfaction survey for the first time. Many of our customers also fondly express how they remember Dave Thomas. Customers share memories of their favorite commercials and identify a special connection they had with Dave, who is still core in everything we do.
COREY: Most do not realize that each Customer Care Advocate is required to train in a Wendy’s restaurant to gain insight into what our restaurant team members experience. It provides us with a wealth of operations knowledge that we use daily when engaging with customers. It is vital we have a deep connection with the brand and its processes to provide exceptional customer service.
Tell us about a customer experience that wasn’t necessarily solving a problem, but just doing good for others.
ALEXANDRA: We hear about employees in restaurants helping customers every day. Often, it’s as simple as bringing trays out for elderly customers and helping them in and out of the restaurant.
CRISTA: There are always unique and memorable customer experiences that require special touches. For example, we recently helped a frantic customer find her mother’s purse that had been left at a Wendy’s somewhere along I-75 between Dayton and Findlay, Ohio. What a relief when we finally called the correct location and found the missing purse!
COREY: Our restaurants used to have beverage cups that highlighted our brand charity of choice, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. We were contacted by a mother who went to Wendy’s with her adopted daughter. When they got their meals and sat down, they made an amazing connection. The mother's cup read, "The first time she called me Mom, Is one of my most cherished memories". Her daughter's cup read, "Every night they hope other kids find good Moms & Dads too." The mother and daughter were touched by this interaction with our brand, and made sure we knew how much they loved it. It’s interactions like this that drive our passion and commitment to our customers.
What’s next for Customer Care at Wendy’s?
COREY: We are always searching for new ways to connect with our customers and would ultimately, like to engage with customers in absolutely any way they desire. We will continue to open new channels, and evolve and elevate our current channels to improve the customer experience. We are also planning to further focus on digital forms of contact going forward, while still keeping the traditional means intact. I’m excited to be a part of the future of Wendy’s Customer Care!
Want to chat with one of our Customer Care Advocates about your Wendy’s experience? Visit our website for details!
* Fresh beef available in the contiguous U.S., Alaska and Canada.