Sunday, 20 May 2012

Schneider's Finest Bakery - a Little Piece of Europe in Binh Duong!

I have previously written about the pluses and minuses of living in Binh Duong New City, Vietnam.  One of the main drawbacks is that we have no local shops, so we can't just pop out to get something we've forgotten.  Trips to the nearest supermarket involve booking a taxi and planning menus ahead to ensure that we buy everything we need.  With careful organisation, it isn't too much of an inconvenience, but, when we first moved in last October, the consensus amongst us was that the lack of ready access to fresh bread was a real problem!! 

Fortunately, it wasn't many weeks later when a German colleague found out about Schneider's Finest German Bakery and a European bread basket became available to us!!  Schneider's have several retail outlets in Saigon, but, luckily for us, they also have a manufacturing unit near Thu Dau Mot, our local town.  Our colleague, Kristina, negotiated with the bakery and soon we had a full colour catalogue of products and a price list.  What a choice!!  Loaves and rolls of all shapes and sizes, delicious pastries, tempting cakes and cookies. 

A typical weekly delivery
We put the catalogue and list on the shared drive at work and canvassed opinion amongst our colleagues.  The reaction was favourable from everyone!  So, another colleague set to work on a spreadsheet which would make ordering easier and we devised a system whereby people place their weekly order at their leisure, give me their money on a Tuesday when Kristina sends the spreadsheet to Schneider's, who process our order and deliver to our apartments at 11am on a Wednesday.  What a success!  We have now been ordering every week for over six months.  We enjoy fresh bread and cakes and have found that all of the products freeze successfully, so we never have to buy bread from anywhere else!  It's a simple thing, but you can't imagine how it's transformed life for us in the New City.  Oh, how we look forward to Wednesdays!!

Schneider's products have been well received since the beginning.  We have had no cause for complaint ...... until last week when, unfortunately, we had badly mixed banana bread which tasted really bitter because of the raw soda and an undercooked loaf which had raw dough in the middle.  Not a bad record, but we did mention our disappointment when we placed our next order.  What followed was customer service at it's best!!  We received an apologetic e-mail by return.  Later, Kristina, had several phone calls from Herr Langer, the company's manager.  He was keen to understand what had gone wrong so that he could ensure it wouldn't happen again.  We were more than satisfied!  But Herr Langer had not finished!  On Thursday evening, as we were having dinner, he arranged to have a cake delivered to our apartment by way of an edible apology!!  If you can't see from the photo, the icing apology reads:

Our 'apology' cake!!
Dear Mrs Kristina Klug and Friends,
We are sorry that our baked products lacked integrity and quality!  The Schneider's Team is appreciative of all our loyal customers and listens to their advice and complaints!

Exemplary customer service!!  And absolutely delicious banana cake, too, which we all enjoyed at lunchtime on Friday!!  Needless to say, we will continue to use Schneider's and to recommend the company and its products to everyone we meet!!

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