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Breakfast Misadventures: How to Destroy a Customer Relationship in 30 Minutes or Less

This is a true story.

Wednesday, June 6th was an infernally hot day in Montreal; the forecast called for 32 degrees Celsius and 62% relative humidity, which combined to create the feeling of a sticky and oppressive 40 degrees.

Since my fiancée and I had begun packing in anticipation of our July move into our new condo, there was no functioning air conditioning in my apartment.

Realizing that I was unlikely to be very productive under these conditions, the plan was to spend the day hopping between air-conditioned cafés and client locations, starting at the Starbucks next to my fiancée’s office.

She didn’t have to start work until 9am, so we decided to share a morning meal at our favorite nearby breakfast establishment.

That was a mistake…

I woke up in the morning, sticky from the heat. I brushed my teeth, showered and checked my email (okay, okay, I checked my email and then showered!). Then I got dressed, grabbed my gear and headed out the door.

The Ill-Fated Breakfast Experience

I met my fiancée at the restaurant at 8:03am, and we sat down at a booth. After several minutes the waitress passed by with two cups of coffee, asking if we wanted them (that’s right – she brought the coffee and then asked).

Despite our not having ordered the coffee, she was indignant when I requested decaf and my fiancée asked for a glass of water.

Then minutes passed, and my decaf arrived. She placed it on the table without a word, and rushed away.

No problem – my fiancée and I are both understanding people, and we could recognize that the place was a little understaffed.

We waited patiently. And then waited patiently some more.

At 8:29, she still had not returned – my fiancée was still waiting for her water, and our orders had not been taken. The waitress had passed by several times, but every time I caught her gaze she carefully averted her eyes, pretending not to have seen me.

By this point, we were getting frustrated. After all, it was a weekday morning, and we both had work to get to.

Finally, I suggested to my fiancée that we leave a few dollars for the coffee, and go someplace else. As we started to put coins on the table and gather our things, the waitress appeared.

“What do you want to order?” She asked, as though she was doing us a favor.

“Actually, we’re running late, and we’re going to leave.” My fiancée replied. No mention of the fact that we’d been waiting for half an hour, and no mention of the water that was not provided. My fiancée, wonderful woman that she is, was polite and even friendly.

How to Lose and Alienate Customers

“Good!”

That was the waitress’s reply as she rushed away. She didn’t apologize for making us wait, didn’t say that she’s sorry to hear us go, and didn’t even acknowledge us with a simple “I understand.”

No, she just flashed us an evil look, said “Good!”, and rushed off.

I don’t easily get upset in this sort of situation, and I’m usually good at recognizing that the restaurant is probably understaffed, and that the waitress might be taking any number of unrelated frustrations out on us. Don’t judge someone, because you don’t know what else they might be dealing with, right?

This time, though, I was livid. Being stressed and providing lousy service is one thing, but being rude is quite another. I’ll forgive lousy service, but not rudeness.

We grabbed our change and left the restaurant. I spent twenty minutes fuming; plotting the restaurant’s demise and imagining how I would get the waitress fired.

Then I calmed down, and enjoyed breakfast with my fiancée at another establishment. The conversation moved on to other things – our plans for the day and evening, and recent happenings in her work life and mine.

Then I got to thinking…

How Fragile Customer Relationships Can Be

This was not our first experience at this establishment.

My fiancée and I have eaten at two of their locations on a dozen different occasions in the last few months, and I’ve held half a dozen business meetings there as well, introducing colleagues and clients to the restaurant in the process.

The service was always a little slow, but the food was good, the décor and ambiance were pleasant, and the location was convenient. And in truth, I’m not that difficult to please.

But now, I’ll never return to any of their locations. Neither will my fiancée, and neither will any of the people with whom I do business – even if they read this and take major steps to improve customer service.

My fiancée works for a large firm nearby, that potentially represents a significant amount of business to the restaurant as well – no doubt this story will affect that business as well.

How much money will the restaurant and chain lose because of that one word?

It’s hard to quantify, but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot.

I’m Not Just Venting – There’s a Lesson Here!

Okay, yes, part of the reason to write this post was to vent.

(And while I haven’t included the restaurant’s name in the post, feel free to email me if you live in Montreal and want to know what restaurant you should avoid.)

But you know me well enough to know that I wouldn’t write this post if I didn’t think there was something of value in it for our readers.

The lesson, of course, is that the connections between us and our customers are a lot more fragile than we sometimes pretend they are. We call them customer “relationships”, and we really glorify that in the world of marketing and social media – we even equate these relationships to friendships.

But the truth is that our customers are NOT our friends. Neither is our audience.

Sure, exceptions exist – I have several clients that have become close friends, and some friends that have become clients. I have also begun to form real friendships with some of the people I’ve connected with throughout the blogosphere.

But if I were to offend a friend, then they will cut me slack, take my circumstances into consideration, and weigh the interaction against the sum total of our experiences together. I will apologize and mean it, and we’ll move on.

Not so with customer relationships. If you offend them (or otherwise fail to provide good customer service), then they’re most likely gone for good.

Have you had a similar experience as a customer? What about YOUR customers? Have you ever had to recover after offending a customer? How did you do it?

UPDATE: Around 8:30am, right after publishing the post, I sent the link to the restaurant chain in question. At 1pm the same day, I received a call from their marketing director. Want to know what she said? Check out my update comment below!

About Danny Iny

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the CEO and founder of Mirasee, host of the Business Reimagined podcast, and best-selling author of multiple books including Engagement from Scratch!, The Audience Revolution, and Teach and Grow Rich.

47 thoughts on “Breakfast Misadventures: How to Destroy a Customer Relationship in 30 Minutes or Less

  1. Bonjour Danny,
    It’s supposed to be cooler today but not by too much.

    What a funny and infuriating story that has probably happened to many many of us.
    I learn everyday just how fragile customer relations can be. I have an e-commerce store and sell specialty handmade items via the internet.
    I have found that some of my customers are not as understanding as you and your fiancee.  They are easy to spot, they send angry emails from the get go. They complain about the mailing time, the cost, the product, the packaging BLAh, blah, blah.

    But in every situation, i have found that i’ve been able to turn an otherwise angry disgruntled and hard to please devil spawned customer into an angelic ray of sunshine by doing one thing. Communicating over the top and listening.

    For example, If a customer sends me an email saying their item hasn’t’ arrived and 5 days have passed since they pushed the purchase button i send an email recognizing their frustration and i let them know i know its frustrating to wait and then tell them a time frame of when they can expect the item. (keep in mine my products are made to order by hand). If that doesn’t appease them, i offer a discount on their next purchase. Some customers need more, and i have gone so far as to call them to talk to them just to hear them vent. In the end the usually say that they have never had such personalized service, thank me and return to buy more and send me a heartfelt email telling me how much they appreciative they are to get such tailored service.

    It’s worth it to me to make someones day who was otherwise pissed off at the world and taking it out on me because i feel like i’m making this world a happier place. It sounds corny but it’s true. And it’s a win win situation for the customer and to my business.
    cheers,
    Annie

    • Thank you for sharing that, Annie!

      I think you’ve illustrated really well how much of a difference can be made by the way you interact with your customers, and how important it is to do so.

      It’s sad, because these breakdowns often happen between customers and people who have no real stake in the business other than a paycheck – I’m sure the restaurant owner would never tolerate this sort of behavior, but when businesses get bigger, and you don’t pay attention to who you hire, you run the risk of creating exactly this sort of experience for your customers.

      Too bad for the big businesses, but great for the smaller ones like you and me! :)

  2. That’s appalling! I spent enough years trotting trays to generally be very sympathetic to overworked servers – but “good!” when a  customer says they’re leaving from lack of service is ridiculous!

    Never patronizing the chain again, though, seems a little harsh. There are a lot of innocents who get hurt by that decisions – cooks, hosts, bussers, bartenders; even the managers and owners who might not be aware that they have a rogue server on their hands. Expressing your extreme displeasure to management gives them the opportunity to correct the situation – it would be going above and beyond on your part, to be sure. But, as a fellow business owner, is it fair to hold an entire network of restaurants and all the people employed therein, culpable for the actions of one bad server? Just a thought, and I ask it from the perspective of someone who has been the server, cook, and manager of restaurants.

    • Hey Megan, thank you for asking that question, because it’s a really important perspective.

      Yes, I do believe in bringing this sort of thing to the attention of the management, and in fact I did email them a link to this post. The way I see it, there are two possible situations:

      1. The management is not aware of this, in which case they need feedback to know that there is a problem; the first feedback is the email, and the second feedback (if they don’t respond to the email and make amends) is a gradual decline in business. Better managers pay better attention, but fundamentally, management is responsible for training and oversight of their staff.

      2. Management knows (at least implicitly), and doesn’t care. I think it might be the latter, since the place is often under-staffed. In that case, they should go out of business, and make room for better businesses to grow in their place. I know it sounds harsh, but while I do believe in giving every opportunity for small businesses to succeed, I don’t believe in coddling bad businesses.

      Does that make sense? Does it sound fair, or am I being too harsh?

      • Oh, absolutely, recurring problems mean bad management, and there should be no quarter given. I was thinking in terms of a first offense.

        I agree with you that bad businesses should not be coddled. It can be a really difficult situation, though, for the players whose hands are tied. I’ve heard managers beg owners for more staff during busy hours and be flatly refused. I’ve also heard them begging to be allowed to fire an awful server but, too bad, she’s a daughter of the owner’s friend. Being someone who works at a place that’s badly managed is very dispiriting. This isn’t to say that bad service should be tolerated, of course! It can’t be – no one learns that way.

        I suppose it always gets more complicated when the business gets bigger.

        • There’s the rub – it’s very tricky when businesses start getting bigger. It doesn’t have to be, though… stay tuned for our interview with Bo Burlingham, author of Small Giants on Thursday next week! :)

  3. Hi Danny
    Well you certainly handled that one better than I did. I didn’t even have a dog in that fight but just reading about the rudeness of that waitress got me going and revenge fantasies hi-jacked my thinking rather than more productive and creative thoughts. The distinction you make between customer and friend is an important one. Friends often know you better but customers aren’t always afforded the depth of knowledge upon which to judge the true nature of your action and real intent. Good post.Riley 

    • Thanks, Riley.

      You know, it’s interesting – with friends, we forgive some things because we know about the context, but it bugs me that people sometimes see their experiences as justification to behave in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t.

      I don’t know what was going on in the waitress’s mind. Maybe she had a fight with her boyfriend. Maybe she was going through something difficult with a friend. Maybe she was just upset at being overworked at an under-staffed restaurant, and saw us as a personification of that frustration.

      Why do we forget that the people we’re dealing with are human beings, and leave out that basic respect that everyone deserves?

      I just don’t get it…

  4. Hi Danny, though I have never experienced a bad breakfast or slow service I loved the article. It really made me think about my customers and perhaps how I’m thinking they are friends. As much as I like to think my blog engage customers are friend they are here to get a service, one that I promised and without this service I would have no friendships.

    I enjoyed this article so much. I read it and continued trying to apply the lesson into situations I might be faced with at any given time. I like to think because I talk with my customers daily, see them tweet their article at some point I might actually become a friend but your article made me realize at the end of the day they are customers and should be respected rightfully more than you would ever respect a friend.

    Thanks for making me think outside the box I really enjoyed it. Sorry to hear this happened to you! I’m going to Montreal on a business trip maybe I should e-mail you and find out what restaurant you went to haha!

    • Thanks, Brian, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      I don’t mean to say that we can’t or shouldn’t be friendly with our customers, or even that friendships can’t grow out of customer relationships – they can, and sometimes do. But we just don’t have the same leeway with our customers as we do with our friends.

      Now that being said, I don’t think customers should be respected more than friends (friends deserve our respect, too!), but they do need to be treated differently.

      And yeah, let me know when you’re in Montreal – I’ll tell you some of the places that are worth your time. :)

  5. Well, first I thought “What the heck the guy is complaining about?”. Then I realized that you don’t live in Germany. *LOL* But how the hell can anybody drink decaf? That’s like drinking beer with no alcohol in it 😀

    • LOL – I guess things are different in Germany, but in Canada this sort of thing is not acceptable.

      And don’t worry – my beer is the real thing! 😀

  6. The icing on the cake here was the “Good!” from the waitress at the end. Had that not happened, you might not have gone there again right away, but likely you would have justified to yourself over time (since you had been to several locations before without problems) that it was a fluke or the waitress was just having a bad day.

    The absolute MEANNESS that the waitress displayed was uncalled for. I understand that the place is understaffed, but in a service-based industry where income is primarily from tips (similar to commissioned salespeople), building that relationship is everything.

    I recently did a post on word-of-mouth marketing for an awesome restaurant (which I DO name) that has thrived almost ENTIRELY on word-of-mouth marketing.

    http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog/business-thrives-on-word-of-mouth-marketing/

    What I learned in my research into word-of-mouth marketing and the organization WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) is that negative customer experiences don’t just provide roadblocks to additional client sources, but they negate their own contribution as well as cost the company additional money. That’s HUGE.

    I saw in the comments that you said you emailed a link to this post to the management. There could be a third option: the management DOES know and DOES care but with few applicants or obstinate staff, has little power to do anything about it. It’s unfortunate, and I hope they reach out to you in some way.

    • Yup, exactly – the “Good!” was just so over the top – I’m was stunned, thinking WTF?

      I looked at your post, and enjoyed it (tweeted, too) – thanks for sharing it!

      There’s research that shows that it takes five positive interactions to offset the effect of just one negative one.

      And you’re right about that third option – I actually have a client right now who means well and is trying to improve his business, but has a few obstinate and obstructionist individuals in key positions (one in particular) that completely torpedo every initiative.

      No excuse for the manager or owner, though. It’s their business, and sometimes you need to get some new faces in the building to get the job done.

      • Thanks for checking out the post. It just went up the other day, and it tied right in with what you were saying about  the ripple effect of a negative review being so much more dramatic than a positive interaction.

        The situation you’re describing reminds me of Dr. House. He provides a service that is unequaled by anyone else in his field, and because of his status, he can get away with it. When there are few employees/applicants in a company, they have more control because their mere employment is a commodity to owners/managers.

        If I were an owner/manager in that position, I would make recruiting additional staff a very visible initiative in the office.

  7. Oh my gosh Danny this is CRAZY! I had an experience almost the same as this yesterday when I went to grab lunch with a friend! I’d say over the last three years I’ve gone there an average of twice a month. However, my friend has been going there for longer and goes there an average of 3 times per WEEK! The bar/restaurant is not that expensive, but I reckon my friend alone has probably spent a couple of thousand pounds there over the last 3 years or so. Long story short, they have a deal on fish ‘n chips on a Thursday, so we got two of those. The fish and chips were dark brown/black, and didn’t taste good. They had clearly been cooked in oil that was well past it! Also, we were the only customers and the waitress took at least ten minutes to take our order. When we voiced our concerns about the food they clearly did not care, offer to do anything. I was feeling calm, so I decided to pay the bill. Rest assured we will never be going there again, they have lost out on two good customers, particularly my friend. It made me think of the post that Ryan did recently, about how important the “gatekeepers” of the business are; they are usually the most disregarded and underpaid staff, yet make and break relationships with customers several times a day! Unfortunate to hear that this happened to you as well, great post you told the story very well. Yes, customer relations are fragile, something that all of us in business must remain mindful of at all times. 

    • Hey Robert, I’m sorry you had to go through the same thing. I don’t understand how businesses can get away with behavior like that!

      I’m curious – did you talk to the staff, or to the restaurant manager? (as of yet I haven’t received a response from the restaurant in my story)

    • Super points man, and crazy experience! EWWW.. old oil. Sorry that happened bro.. lol. 
      Yea, this definitely reminds me too of the re-examination of the primary touchpoints and how the way they communicate is a sink or save operation in many cases.

  8. Very well written :)
    Can’t help but wonder if the story would have ended differently if you would have accepted these two cups of coffee… :)
    To me it sounds as if the waitress was getting back at her employer – which brings me to realize that good employer-employee relationships are the very essence of good customer service. If you want – your employee is kind of a customer, and the way you treat him will be passed on to the customers s/he serve.

      • I have to agree about the employer/employee relationship being very important.

        I work for a local outsouce call center.  We handle about 12 clients varying in size and complexity.  The previous owner of the business made some critical mistakes, and before the business started to go into the red, he sold it to a much larger call center company.  All of the management at my facility has stayed the same, save for the site director.

        The current manager of the call center floor has not been communicating with the reps very well.  Since the purchase, we have gone from having aprox 14-16 people on the phones to about 2-3.  Business has slowed, and when I speak directly to the site manager, he says that they have some things in the works, but it takes time.  He always has some sort of news for me to try to life my spirits, but only when I seek him out.  The floor manager is quiet about things, and gives off an air of “Don’t bother me” when approached by anyone.  Because of this, the lack of work, the absence of communication, and knowing what the job market is like out there, we are all scared for our jobs. 

        Now I have been a CSR in various companys for most of my life in one aspect or another (15+ years experience), so I know I can get a job after a while, and have started looking.  But I hear the other reps on the phones, and their depression is showing in their phone calls.  Our call center used to be upbeat, lively, and full of a good energy.  Now it like walking into a funeral; Quiet, somber, with a sense of foreboding and finality.  

        If we had more communication, it would help.  If we had some words of encouragement, it would help.  If we had even the site or floor managers approach us on their own and give us any sort of updates, it would help.    But because the management team there has been very closed and unapproachable, it is suffering.  So in a day, each one of us may get fron 30-70 calls, depending on the day and season.  with 3 reps, thats 90-210 people, on a daily basis, that are not getting the best customer service with a company.  And as we all know, if a customer is not happy, they will tell others, so we are actually hurting the clients we are trying to help.

        So yes, treat your employees well, show them respect, communicate with them, and they will be a driving force in your business.  If you can’t give these things to the people that work under you, then you might as well close you doors now. 

        • Hi Anthony, thank you for sharing this with us. I worked in a call center many years ago, and it was a very similar situation, so I could definitely relate as I read your comment!

          It creates a downward death spiral, but many businesses refuse to acknowledge the damage that they are doing to their businesses – it’s really too bad, because so many businesses could be doing so much better than they are, and so many of them are on the slippery slope to bankruptcy…

  9. HaHa, oh man I would be fuming too man. I actually might have said something back to her before I left. Probably not the right call but oh well.

    You are totally right though, customers/audience aren’t our friends. They can eventually become friends over the long haul but not right when you meet them. Customers are our customers and businesses need to serve them appropriately. Show the love!

  10. UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!

    Around 8:30am, right after publishing the post, I sent the link to the restaurant chain in question. At 1pm the same day, I received a call from their marketing director.

    She was very gracious, and thanked me for the feedback. She explained that since the restaurant is a franchise, they don’t get a lot of direct feedback from customers (they do spot checks, but of course everyone is on their best behavior when the corporate people are around).

    It turns out that there’s quite a back-story going on here. The restaurant in question had just been confiscated from the franchisee, and was being placed under new management; apparently, this change-over happened the day before my “breakfast misadventure”.

    There’s going to be new management, efforts will be made to hire more people, and staff will be re-trained. She even said that they were printing out copies of this post to use in a training meeting later in the day. (Flattery will get you everywhere?) 😉

    She also offered me a $20 gift card to the restaurant, in hopes that I would give them another chance. I thought the card offer was nice, but a bit silly (it won’t even cover breakfast for my fiancee and I) – all I really needed was an apology, and to see that management cares.

    She’s supposed to connect me with the new restaurant manager sometime next week to pick up the gift card, and I look forward to chatting with him about this experience.

    I invited the chain’s marketing director to come and join in the conversation here, and share their side of the story – what was going on that day, and what they’re doing about it.

    Hopefully, we’ll see her here soon…

    • I hope you get this all resolved somehow, Danny! Thanks for sharing your experience; you and your fiancee were totally in the right and I would have walked out as well. I’m looking forward to any more updates that come through…

      • Thanks, Jill! I picked up the gift card this morning, and noticed that the offending waitress was still there. I appreciate the head office attempt to rectify the situation, but honestly I don’t know if we’ll go back there – ultimately, when I go out for breakfast, I want to have a good time, and I think it would just be stressful now.

  11. Danny – I had an experience last week that lost a jewelry vendor a good customer — me. Several weeks ago I bought a ring from this vendor at my local flea market (don’t be put off by that term – the vendors there sell nice items). A stone fell out and I returned it from him to replace. I heard nothing and checked with him a couple of times. Last Saturday I showed up and he admitted he had lost the ring. He had a similar one there, with fewer stones, and offered to replace the ring — for another $20! I told him I expected at least an even exchange, considering there were fewer stones (even though I actually liked the design better). We dickered back and forth and I finally gave him $10 for the ring. I felt like I was being held hostage. I’ve bought from him before, as has a very good friend. Neither of us will buy from him again nor recommend him. How could he be so stupid — and also, I feel, unethical.

    • This sort of situation happens so often, and it never makes sense to me. It really comes from a mentality of scarcity… the idea that everyone is out to get you and you have to protect yourself from them, and squeeze as much money as you can out of them. It’s so false, and so unwise!

    • That’s ridiculous! He gained $10 but lost a good customer that could have net him WAY more than that in the long run. Was it worth it? I think not. You did the right thing in deciding to not go back; who knows what else he would have pulled!

  12. Huge deal bro! I would have been livid too.. conspiring about how to create a divorce between the waitress and her job. I like how you said you and your fiance are understanding people. That aligns with me so well, as you probably know. 

    No, our customers aren’t our friends. But they should be a lot more than just customers. A middle spot perhaps? 
    At any rate, awesome post as usual. Did I ever tell you that your writing is super down to earth? 

    • Yeah, I agree that they should be moving in the direction of becoming friends… but they don’t start out that way, and it’s very hard to push the needle towards friends, whereas it’s very easy to push it back in the other direction.

      Thanks, man, I really appreciate the kind words. It keeps me going. :)

    • Yeah, I agree that they should be moving in the direction of becoming friends… but they don’t start out that way, and it’s very hard to push the needle towards friends, whereas it’s very easy to push it back in the other direction.

      Thanks, man, I really appreciate the kind words. It keeps me going. :)

  13. I’m late to this post (was away on the weekend) but I had to jump in here. First of all, my son is in Montreal Danny and I had a FaceTime chat with him on Friday and could see and hear about how hot it is in Montreal! It’s strange to think you’re in the same city as him!
    The service you get at a restaurant, for instance, is SO important. A restaurant was a good example to use because it does involves so many different elements. My daughter is in this industry (while she is still in school) and I’ve learned a lot by listening to her.I learned, last year while travelling in Greece with her, that the wait staff are more than representing their restaurant, they also represent their country! The wait staff at restaurants are often the first contact a tourist has with the people of the area. This makes them ambassadors. After returning from Greece my daughter, already a conscientious worker, was even more aware of the importance of her job and of the opportunity in it.You don’t get a second chance in situations such as yours. It’s too bad. I know we can’t all be on top of our game ALL the time, but it’s sure worth the effort!Great story Danny!Lori

  14. I’m late to this post (was away on the weekend) but I had to jump in here. First of all, my son is in Montreal Danny and I had a FaceTime chat with him on Friday and could see and hear about how hot it is in Montreal! It’s strange to think you’re in the same city as him!
    The service you get at a restaurant, for instance, is SO important. A restaurant was a good example to use because it does involves so many different elements. My daughter is in this industry (while she is still in school) and I’ve learned a lot by listening to her.I learned, last year while travelling in Greece with her, that the wait staff are more than representing their restaurant, they also represent their country! The wait staff at restaurants are often the first contact a tourist has with the people of the area. This makes them ambassadors. After returning from Greece my daughter, already a conscientious worker, was even more aware of the importance of her job and of the opportunity in it.You don’t get a second chance in situations such as yours. It’s too bad. I know we can’t all be on top of our game ALL the time, but it’s sure worth the effort!Great story Danny!Lori

    • Hey Lori, yeah, you’ve mentioned before that your son is in Montreal – he’s at McGill, right?

      The heat wave has finally broken… thank goodness. :)

      You raise a really good point – people don’t often consider how far the ripples of their influence tend to spread. The way we treat people doesn’t just have an effect on their direct experience, but also on their whole days, their loved ones, their perceptions of our organizations, and even in some cases our country. That’s a lot of responsibility!

  15. Awesome story! What an experience. The waitress was totally out of line. In my opinion, people who do a bomb-digity of a job do not get the praise or recognition they deserve. When this happens, no matter what industry, store, restaurant, they get the “I could care less” attitude b/c no one takes a few seconds to praise a job well done. In the restaurant story, she was probably still there b/c no one ever took the time to catch her unprofessional ways or customers never took the time to complain to management. People will complain to the moon about horrible service but complaining to a friend is not going to solve the problem. My grown daughters & I went to Olive Garden this past Friday to celebrate her 29th birthday. Our server Chris was so good I wondered why he was working in a restuarant! When I say he was on top of his game, I am serious. Drinks were refilled, salad bowls refilled, bread sticks came coming…all without a word from us except thank you. He was there to please & keep customers happy…especially on a Friday night @ 6:00pm. When I went to leave, I told my daughters to hang on. I asked for the store mgr. & of course the hostess got that panicked look on her face like Oh crap! GM came to the front and I gave a glowing review of our server loud enough, but not obnoxious, for all around me to hear. I told the mgr. they were extremely lucky to have such a dedicated, happy & all around wonderful personality working for them. Here’s the good part; the store mgr. said to me, thank you so much for your kind words & imput. It means so much to us to get positive feedback. I told her Chris deserved a raise & promotion and we shared a great laugh! He made our visit & my daughter’s birthday even more special by being…like part of our family! Golden rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you!

    • What a fantastic story – thank you for sharing that with us, Kathie!

      I think you’re right – we don’t do nearly as much as we could to acknowledge the situations when someone is performing wonderfully, and provide us with a truly excellent experience.

      Sounds like it was a fun night at the Olive Garden. Wish your daughter happy birthday for me! :)

  16. Customer is always right – not if their getting too much demand that is crossing the limitation of the service or stepping your right. I once became a sales agent and has encounter almost all kinds of customer and what i learned from it is that….stand for the right.

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10 Rules of
VISIONARY BUSINESS

10 Rules of Visionary Business Book

(Plus 10 lessons learned growing to 60,000+ subscribers, $2M+ revenues, and 25+ team members, without losing our values, or selling our soul.)

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