A not-so-serene experience at Serenitea

It may be because it’s Friday the 13th. Or it’s just because.

My officemate’s becoming an addict to milk teas. She’s tried those in Gong Cha (her favorite), Happy Lemon, and Chatime. Yesterday, she stumbled upon Serenitea while browsing the web for milk tea stores in the Philippines. It got her — and me as well — interested, so we and 2 other officemates made our way to Serenitea Rada branch.

We got there at around 11:30 AM, and there was already a lot of people in the store. But we didn’t think we’d wait SO LONG for our orders.

Anyhoo, to sum up our experience, I’m posting a copy of the letter I sent to Serenitea when I got back from lunch:

Hi, Serenitea!

I would just like to share my customer experience at one of your branches.

Today, January 13, 2012 at around 11:30 AM, my officemates and I went to Serenitea Rada branch to try out your milk teas. This was our first time to experience your product and service.

While the milk teas and snacks were great (we ordered 1 tall Hokkaido, 1 tall Nagoya, 1 medium Nagoya, 1 medium Wintermelon frost, and 1 order Pepper Corn), I could not say the same about the service at that particular branch. For one, 3 of our milk teas arrived more than 30 minutes after we ordered (not counting the additional 10 minutes waiting in line before we could actually order). Worse, the order for the other milk tea (the Wintermelon Frost) and Pepper Corn wasn’t processed by the staff. They failed (forgot?) to prepare them when these were ordered almost at the same time as the 3 milk fteas. My friend who ordered these had to wait for another 20 minutes or so to get them. So that’s 10 minutes waiting in line + 40-50 minutes waiting for the drink and food. It was unacceptable.

I’m not sure which of these is the problem: the staff or the system from order taking to preparation to serving. I really do hope that you look into this and find improvements in your service. You can train your staff to do more in less time, or put a system in place to speed up service time. I hope you’d find a solution to this situation.

I didn’t write to criticize you guys. I just want you to hear from an actual customer who had a not-so-good experience at Serenitea. I shared this to you in the hope of experiencing something better in your store, in Rada (close to where I work) or any of them, for that matter. Your teas are delicious, no doubt about that, and if your service improves, I will definitely be a full-fledged fan of yours.

It’s just that the service is stopping me from being one at the moment.

I would appreciate it if you could reply to this e-mail.

Thank you very much for your time.

I’m not telling you guys not to go there. In fact, their milk tea (I was the one who ordered the medium Nagoya) is good. I just want to share you this experience so you know what to expect at that branch — if they hadn’t found a solution to their slow service yet.

Comparing it to my experience at Chatime Galleria, where there was also a long queue of people yet it took me only 5-6 minutes to wait for my drink, Serenitea in Rada needs to quicken things a bit. One customer left without ordering when she found out that others were waiting 20 minutes for their drink.

I sure hope they’ll heed my letter. Maybe in the next few weeks, I’ll try buying there again and see whether service has improved or not. Just to see.

**UPDATE! Ms. Juliet Herrera of Serenitea responded to my e-mail. I received her response yesterday, Jan. 15. Posting it here in verbatim:

Hi,

First of all we would like to apologize for what happened and thank you so much for the concern by taking time to write about your experience with the Rada branch.

We are aware that our customers take some time in getting and receiving orders especially during lunch time and waiting for your drinks too long is unacceptable, especially when most of our Rada branch customers work in nearby offices and only have an hour to spend for their break time. We are happy to inform you that we are doing a couple of improvements to reduce waiting time by adding one more unit of espresso machine and a cash register dedicated just for delivery orders. In this way, the waiting time of walk in customers will be greatly reduced, as delivery and walk in orders would be processed separately but at the same time. We target to complete this within the month.

As our Rada branch opened for barely 2 months, we recognize that there are things that we need to improve on. Rest assured that we are not disregarding these problems and we hope that you can still give us a chance to serve you better.

Thank you.

Well, they probably should have anticipated how busy their Makati branch would be. Nevertheless, it’s nice to receive a reply from their end. Really hoping their service would improve. They’ve got great drinks. It would be a shame if the lack of service would supersede its reputation.

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