Customer complaints


Andrew and I were saying this morning that the week has been a bit crazy – on Tuesday night we had 30 people over to the house from Andrew’s work, and at the bakery, I have a couple of projects that are moving along at glacial speed. Slowly. Which is a little frustrating.

But it was wonderful to see the fresh new paint job at the Victoria store and this Sunday the same stunning colour will be applied to the walls of the FCP and Yorkville stores. When the bakery opened in 2011, I felt I couldn’t paint the place pink so I went with the lime green from the logo. but hey, 5 years later it’s time for my favourite colour. IMG_3241

The post title is customer complaints, a topic that is more nuanced than I used to think. My mantra, so that of the business, is “the customer is always right”. This has served us well over the years: win a battle with a customer and of course you’ve lost the war because you’ll never see  him or her again.

But I think a more accurate statement of what happens in a business that provides good service is this:

“This business will always respond as if the customer is always right”.

I’ve learned that it is easy for a business owner committed to customer service to forget to listen to the team’s side of a contentious story. I’ve done it several times and I don’t anymore. I’ve learned that a very upset customer can sometimes assume that to catch our attention at all, they need to start off in a great rage. Although the only way to calm someone down is to let them say their piece and apologize for the upset caused to them, there’s a lot of value in also hearing what happened from the team’s side. Sometimes it is remarkably different, and I’m always interested in that, especially if the team member is someone I’ve known and observed in action for a long time.

Mostly I am happy that we receive few customer complaints and the vast majority are in the category of “the bag handle broke” or “the icing melted” and are readily resolved by an automatic replacement, refund or additional order/gift card. But where these steps still do not seem to address the customer’s anger, sometimes (of course not always) there may be something going on in the customer’s life that  has nothing to do with PGB.


About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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