A Little Background
When I was a kid, snow days were great for the same reasons they’re great for every kid: no school, lots of play time with neighborhood buddies, mug after mug of hot chocolate. As an adult, at least for me, they’re just as great. Everybody rushes to GrubHub once the first snowflake hits. Check it:
Of course it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that delivery drivers have a hard time getting around in blizzard conditions. And we want them to stay safe! Orders take a little longer to deliver; some restaurants close. Those that stay open sometimes see double a normal day’s delivery orders. And that’s not going from 5 orders to 10 orders– we send some individual restaurants over a millions dollars worth of orders each year– double orders is a lot of orders.
The food gets there
But the food gets there. That’s the mantra for our customer service team. If somebody is hungry and they place an order on GrubHub, they are going to get fed. Period. It’s a tough standard to shoot for when you consider that we don’t actually deliver the food ourselves. The easiest way to maintain that standard is to temporarily stop sending orders to restaurants that are falling a little behind. We have a whole team of people just checking delivery times and order completion to make sure we have the best information available.
But, to be honest, it’s not always possible to predict ahead of time how long the food is going to take. So, in the rare circumstance that a problem arises, we have a list of the restaurants that are handling the orders best despite the weather. We make sure to help our diners place a new order, and we help pay for it with a gift card. People have told me that it is absurd to give gift cards and apologize for delays that are totally outside our control. I mean, imagine if airlines did that. It would be awesome, right? And that should help explain why we bother: providing awesome service is the most important thing we do.
Heroic Customer Service
As Snowpocalypse 2011 really started revving up, there was a moment when it became clear that the window of opportunity for getting out of the office was closing fast. Nobody left. The whole team stayed at their battle stations, snow closing in and the hope of escape fading. Fortunately, we had a bunch of Sarpino’s pizzas to keep us alive until help came to dig us out of our snow filled cubicles. As things wound down around 2 A.M., our Rock Band room became the customer service sleepover room.
The morning following, as snOMG ’11 wound down, I got an early start shoveling so that I could get my car down to the office to drive everybody home. A random passerby looked at my efforts and shook his head asking, “Do you really need to get wherever you are going that bad?” To which I replied, “ I really do.”
But when I got to the office, the sleepy-eyed reps unanimously refused to go home until more relief arrived. They jumped on the phones again to make sure the restaurants and diners had the support they needed to keep things running smoothly. I am humbled by their generosity and commitment.
Take a look at this clip from the weather channel. Jim Cantore asks: “What if the food never gets there? Who’s at fault?” I reply, “The food gets there.” And he looks confused because he knows we don’t actually deliver the food ourselves. I’ve got a faraway look when he asks me; I’m thinking about our customer service heroes and the dedication of the drivers that deliver the food. Damn straight, the food gets there.