Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tea2Go, a review on their customer service and sales practices

I have been to the Tea2Go that is about an hour away from the town I live in 3 or 4 times now, and I feel that I can now give an accurate representation of the typical customer experience you will receive if you go there.

First off, there is a HUGE sign when you walk in stating the "health benefits" they claim for all their tea types. ( I was unable to take a picture, because when I pulled out my phone to do so, they jumped all over me saying they didn't allow photos of their business to be taken, which was the first red flag.)

Not only is there no disclaimer about the fact that the claims are not proven through scientific testing, but they treat the sign as absolute gospel. This really annoys me, for the very reason that other than the fact that if you drink unsweetened tea you will probably lose weight, especially if you are switching from a sugary drink laden diet, there are NO health benefits to tea that have been proven via long-term scientific study.

This past visit is most vivid, so I will use it as my example-

As soon as I walked to the wall of loose tea (the teas were in clear plastic canisters, some of which were foggy with moisture, ugh. red flag number 2) I got rushed by an employee, who IMMEDIATELY started pushing the most expensive teas they had, the white teas, saying how they would improve my skin tone and help me lose weight.

I basically played the uninformed customer and took him up on the Madagascar Coconut white tea.

 When I asked him about the origin of the tea, he hemmed and hawed and fed me some vague statement about how their teas are sourced from "all over the world" and that he didn't know where the individual teas come from (red flag number 3).

When I was ordering, he pushed me into getting both the largest size of iced tea (a 44 oz monster of a cup) and an extra scoop of tea leaves "because white and green teas are just too delicate in flavor to really be tasted without the extra scoop" which doubled the price of the cup of iced tea from $3.99 to almost $8. (apparently he had never experienced a gong fu brewed yabao. This was red flag number 4).

He also pushed me to get MULTIPLE 2 tablespoon scoops of coconut sugar. I told him to stop at one and I watched him put two in AFTER I insisted I only needed one (he wouldn't listen when I had said that I normally take my tea unsweet.) Red flag # 5.

So my experience was pretty awful, and I witnessed two other underhanded sales tactics I had previously thought only Teavana used.

I watched an associate tell a pair of older ladies that they recommended buying loose leaf at least 4 oz at a time "so that they could have some room to figure out their favorite brewing parameters". Seeing as their CHEAPEST teas are being sold at around $4 an ounce, this was a ridiculous situation for me to see.

The other sales tactic was actually done to my husband and sister-in-law, who decided they wanted to buy one of their "level 2" teas in loose leaf. (it's called crisp apple strudel, and only includes fruit, almond slivers, and hibiscus). It costs $5 an ounce. The associate assisting them did not even mention they could put the tea in a foil backed heat sealed zip bag but insisted on selling them a tin for an extra $4.99. She filled the tin with FIVE ounces of tea and rung them up for the $30 purchase.

I said nothing, because my experience had already been so soured by their behavior toward me that I felt that if I had said something it would have come out as snappish and I would have been told by my husband and sister in law that I was being unreasonable.

OH and I forgot, red flags six and seven were as follows-

On the BOTTOM of the tin that was bought by my group members, they wrote the instructions for the tea. it read "Temperature: 203 - 222 F, brew time 10-15 minutes" See anything wrong with that?

When I asked what temperature they were brewing the teas at (because they only have one water "boiler" in the shop and I was wondering what it was set at), They said- "it doesn't matter because we are putting it over ice anyway"

As for how the tea tasted:  I couldn't finish it. It was too sickly sweet and had that bitter taste you get when you use water that is too hot on an inexpensive white tea.

I have made better iced tea using a Lipton tea bag.

I am really trying to be fair, but SEVEN red flags that tell me that they both don't know what they are doing and that they don't care about the customer experience as long as they make money, are too much.

My husband. his sister, and her husband all like it though, so maybe it is just me being too hard on a company meant to bring tea to people less educated on the subject.

As a business I give them a review of  0/10, my suggestions are as such:

They need to remove the health benefits sign and actually TRAIN their employees to do more than toss massive amounts of loose leaf tea with massive amounts of sugar into a gravity steeper, set a timer for the max time that they list, and then put the tea over massive amounts of ice to disguise the bitter taste from too hot of water and too long of a time in the hot water.

Their teas I give a 2/10, because I feel if they were actually prepared properly they may have actually been halfway palatable.

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