Category: Customer Service: Food & Beverage

A Cupcake Loving Customer turned Instagram Foodie

This blog is all about my passion for the food and beverage industry, and how I have now turned my passion into an Instagram account.

For as long as I can remember I have always been obsessed with desserts, especially cupcakes. When I was in high school I remember going to my first specialty cupcake store, Icing on the Cupcake. Located in Folsom, California. This is where my passion for trying local cupcakes everywhere I go started.

The customer experience these shops provide is amazing. They create unique flavors, and have excellent presentation, along with friendly and knowledgeable employees. Since my first experience in Folsom, I have tried different local shops in Carson City, Reno, Las Vegas, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Roseville, Santa Cruz, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Detroit. And I am looking forward to the many more to come.

However, I realized that not only do I want to try all of these different places, I want to share with others what I found as well. At first I debated using my personal Instagram account to share my findings, however I didn’t want others to get annoyed seeing food pictures all the time.

After my boyfriend recently suggested I create an Instagram account just for food, I started realizing that it was the perfect platform to share the foods I find. It took a few days to research popular foodies on Instagram, and I realized that the food community is massive with many people wanting to collaborate and share amazing foods throughout the world.

A few of the accounts that have inspired me are Foooodieee, The Naughty Fork, and Freshmen 15. All started by young women and have each attained a global outreach, each being featured in national magazines. They have been able to turn their love for food into businesses to collaborate with restaurants and eateries to share the trendiest and most Instagram worthy food around.

This is what makes Instagram so great, is that all account owners can reach out and create communities with those that share the same interests and hobbies. This is the ultimate consumer experience.

After days of research and collaboration with my mom I landed on the perfect name for my account: Slytly Sweet. I want to use the account to share local food and beverages that I try, especially cupcakes. It is a work in progress, and as I discussed in my previous blog I hit a road block in the beginning, but I am excited to continue sharing not only food finds, but also the customer experience offered by these local favorites.

I am excited to expand my blog on customer experience to include food and beverage specific details, and see where this new journey can take me. If you want to take a look at my cupcake adventures and west coast food finds check out my account @slytlysweet.

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Wendy’s: Customer Engagement Gone Viral

Image result for wendysThe Social Age has provided companies with many new ways to provide an excellent customer experience. Not only can companies reach out or advertise in many new ways, but they can also interact and engage with customers easily. When a company really hits the mark, then most likely they will reach viral status. Companies can go viral for both negative and positive interactions, but when they do something great they will increase customer loyalty, and also get some free marketing through social media and the consumer doing the marketing for them.

Wendy’s has recently come into the spotlight for their customer engagement Tweet that has since gone viral over Twitter and the internet. This is a great example of when companies engage their customer, they not only excite consumers, but get their brand name out to the masses.

Here is the Tweet posted by Carter Wilkerson, which started it all:Image result for carter wilkerson

  • “Yo @Wendys how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?”

Surprisingly, Wendy’s decided to comment back, their Twitter is known for hilarious interactions and comments. Here is what they had to say:

  • “18 Million” to which Carter replied; “Consider it done”

Carter then pinned this conversation with the Tweet, “HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS.” This was posted on April 5, and since then he has reached over 3.6 million retweets, which is now record breaking.

Image result for ellen degeneres and carter wilkersonThe previous record holder, Ellen DeGeneres, who had the famous Oscar selfie, which currently has just over 3.4 million retweets, invited Carter to be on her show, which heightened the competition and social media frenzy around this Tweet. Other large companies jumped in and have since Tweeted at Carter, encouraging others to help him reach his goal.

#NuggsForCarter has since taken Twitter by storm. Carter now has a website where t-shirts are being sold and proceeds are going to charity.

As a Reno area local, it is great to see a local high school student from our area gain this kind of recognition and viral status. Wendy’s did it right in terms of customer engagement, and all it took was a simple reply. Companies can get a mass amount of free marketing when engaging through social media platforms.

Head to the internet and search for #NuggsForCarter and check out his website for more information!

Photo Credit: Wendy’s, Carter, Ellen

Panda Express: Do Free Samples Increase Customer Satisfaction?

Panda ExpressIn order for a company to stay competitive in today’s environment they need to get creative in the ways that they provide customer service. Increasing customer satisfaction is getting more competitive the more innovative companies are getting, and the higher a customer’s expectations are. Customers do not only expect to be greeted with a friendly employee, but also expect to be wowed in some way by your company. I mean a friendly employee is definitely a solid start for a company, but in order to really make the experience exceptional a company needs to go above and beyond.

Image result for panda express five flavor shrimpThis past week I visited Panda Express to grab dinner, and I got to thinking, do their free samples really increase the consumers overall satisfaction? I know that Panda Express is not the only company to offer free samples, they are one of many companies following this practice. I know that many consumers are delighted at the opportunity to technically “try before they buy,” but what about the customers who have no intent of purchasing a certain entrée, but are more than willing to take a sample of the product. This may not seem like a big deal, but a trend I have noticed is that the sample is usually a shrimp entrée, that Panda Express has an extra charge for if selected.

Image result for panda express storeThese are known as “premium entrees” and will always cost a little extra if chosen. This may not seem like a big deal, however I have noticed a trend throughout the times that I have chosen to eat at Panda Express; customers sample the shrimp, but don’t buy. There have been multiple times I have been behind customers who would like to sample the shrimp, and do not even seem to consider the purchase, because they clearly already knew what they wanted, which was a non-premium entrée. I questioned whether offering these free samples really helped the company, or does it diminish their supply, which is why they have to charge extra in the first place. If for example a quarter of the product is given away for free by sampling, this could hurt the company’s overall profit, and just drive up the extra charge for these premium entrees.

Image result for Free samplesI am not saying that sampling is bad, in many ways it is a positive for a company. Consumers have a better experience overall, and are less likely to return an entire purchase because they were not satisfied. In this way sampling is great! Because an entire entrée being tossed because of a customer not liking the product is avoided by them sampling the item before purchase. Sampling also allows customers to try a new item they may not have purchased initially, which I believe is the true reason for this practice. If a customer is hesitant on the shrimp for example, but after the sample they choose the entrée, then Panda Express made the sale. So as you can tell there are definitely pros and cons to sampling.

How do you feel about being offered a free sample by a company? Does that make you more or less likely to purchase from them again? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: Panda Express, Shrimp, Store, Samples

Starbucks: Delighting Customers with the “Unicorn Frappuccino”

Starbucks is an industry leading brand with their hot, cold, and blended beverage choices. Along with their expanding food options, there is no question as to why you can find a Starbucks location no matter your destination. Not only does the brand offer tangible goods for their customers, but also the intangible reputation the brand has created over the years with their prominent logo.

Thriving off of their customers and their wishes it was no surprise that Starbucks has now jumped on the “Unicorn” trend with their all new Unicorn Frappuccino Blended Crème drink available for a limited time only at participating locations. Released today, the drink has already taken social media by storm. The Social Age provides customers with a quick and easy way to promote any new item that hits the market. Starbucks has won the battle of the Social Age with this whimsical drink.

With its debut I had to try the drink out for myself to see what all the hype was about. I was definitely not disappointed. The drink lived up to its promotional image with swirls of purple, pink, and blue. Topped off with whipped cream and sour powder, the flavors change as you drink it. Starting off mainly sweet, the sour starts to kick in once the flavors melt together. Transforming the experience of what I would consider a typical Frappuccino blended beverage.

No caffeine allows this drink to be marketed to consumers of all ages, and be promoted at any time of day for their unicorn loving customers. You can also customize the drink based off of your personal food preferences. Here are your options:

  • Size: Tall (12 oz.), Grande (16 oz.), Venti (24 oz.)
  • Milk: Almond, Coconut, Nonfat, Whole, 2%, Soy
  • With or without whipped cream

Here is a breakdown of what is actually in this magical drink:

  • Ice
  • Milk
  • Crème Frappuccino Syrup
  • Whipped Cream
  • Mango Syrup
  • Blue Drizzle
  • Pink Powder
  • Sour Blue Powder

This drink has proved that companies will listen, when customers want to experience new and interesting foods, like this Unicorn Frappuccino. Taking the internet by storm, I am excited to see what other companies decide to maximize on the unicorn trend. Not only are customers excited, but this is also brining in profits and increasing customer loyalty for the industry leader. How will Starbucks top this internet breaking beverage? I guess we will have to wait see what they will come out with this summer.

Want to try one of these magical drinks for yourself? Check to see if a local Starbucks is participating with this featured drink! But don’t wait too long, this drink is only offered for a limited time while supplies last.

Photo Credit: Starbucks

Jamba Juice: Great Customer Service and Healthy Choices

Image result for jamba juice

I have been a fan of Jamba Juice for many years, with their great service and different options for healthy drinks and snacks. I have always encountered friendly and knowledgeable employees, who are willing to help and answer any questions you may have pertaining to the companies menu options. Jamba Juice is not only committed to providing great products, but is also committed to their customer. Their FAQ’s site covers many questions a customer may have, and improving the overall customer experience. They stand by their statement:

“Our customers have always inspired our quest for the perfect products and experiences – and we’re downright passionate about improving the little things”

Jamba Juice also provides a Jamba Insider Rewards program, and here are just some of the perks:Jamba Juice Rewards

  1. $3 off with every 35 points
  2. Personalized offers
  3. Free small Birthday smoothie
  4. $3 off your next visit, just for joining!

As you can tell they are committed to satisfying their customers, and offer incentives for brand loyalty. Even today I was offered a perk I wasn’t aware of: “Thirsty Thursday.” What did this mean for me? My medium smoothie was upgraded to a large at no extra charge! This made my experience that much greater.

Jamba Juice does not only have an array of smoothies to choose from, but also has expanded menu options including; Energy Bowls, Shots, Juices, Tasty Bites, Jamba Kids, and Boosts. One thing I always wanted to try was a Wheatgrass Shot, which I did today and was pleasantly surprised. The employee recommended taking the shot with an orange slice on the side, which was much needed. Here are some of the benefits of each of the shots they offer. I will definitely be trying the Orange Ginger Cayenne Shot next time.

Wheatgrass ShotWheatgrass Shot

  • Non-Gluten
  • Non-Dairy
  • Vegan
  • No artificial preservatives
  • No artificial flavors
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • 0g trans fat
  • Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Iron

Ginger ShotsOrange Ginger Cayenne Shot

  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Fresh Ginger Juice
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron

 

This is just a highlight of the Shots that Jamba Juice provides. Their website provides so much more detail and information on all of their tasty and healthy products. Their amazing menu coupled with the customer focused attitude of the employees, guarantees a great experience when you walk through their doors.

 

Are you a fan of Jamba Juice? Next time you are on your smartphone, sign up for the Jamba Insider Rewards program and start receiving perks today!

Photo Credit: Jamba Juice, Insider Rewards, Wheatgrass, Orange Ginger Cayenne