Morton’s Story Is Not About Great Customer Service

Over the past few days, I’ve been bombarded by emails telling me about “The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told.” It’s a blog post about how Morton’s Steakhouse delivered a steak dinner to a traveler at an airport after he tweeted the following…

Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks 🙂

My take: This is a great story and is getting Morton’s a lot of exposure. It’s wonderful that Morton’s delivered the unexpected steak dinner, but it’s not great customer service. As a matter of fact, it’s not even good customer service.

Here’s how I would dissect the story:

  • Some person joked on twitter about wanting a steak (the tweeter admits he was joking)
  • Morton’s sent an employee 24 miles to deliver a steak dinner to the Newark airport

So Morton’s spent valuable resources (the food, deliver person for at least a few hours, etc.) to respond to someone who was joking.

I often tell companies that “heros don’t scale.” Great customer experience (and customer service) is demonstrated by repeatable processes, not by periodic heroic behavior.

Are more people going to tweet Mortons about delivering a meal? Yes. Is Morton’s planning to respond to all tweets with a personally delivered meal? Probably not. Are there going to be many people disappointed that they’ve been left hungry? Probably.

Having said all of that, I like what Morton’s did. It was great marketing.

The bottom line: Don’t bet your customer service on heroics

P.S. Morton’s: I love porterhouse and prefer it medium rare. I’ll be in Stockbridge, MA tomorrow 🙂

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