I'm Just The Customer - Part 2

Last week I promised you I would finish sharing the business value from the time we were in Las Vegas recently. I told you what a horrible experience we had and how we were treated at an upscale restaurant. This is not earth shattering news as we all know that poor service happens all the time.

This is an unfortunate reality of our daily lives now, but it's also a HUGE opportunity for all of us to capitalize on the low expectation of today's customer. As a society we've trained the marketplace to expect mediocrity at best, and all too often this is exactly what we deliver to them.

We're in the service business and we deal with people so mistakes are certainly a real thing. It happens to all of us and our businesses, but the bigger question is what happens when things don't go exactly to plan? Pretty simply my friend, make it right! People understand mistakes happen and 95% of our customers will be okay if we simply make an effort to right the ship when we steer off course. (Ok, maybe a bad analogy after the recent debacles for cruise ships).

After our terrible experience for breakfast while still in Vegas last week we set out to get a nice pizza for dinner. Since we were staying at the Mandarin Oriental and were leaving early the next morning, we opted for a short walk to "Slice of Las Vegas". The place was incredibly busy, but we did get seated immediately at the last table they had.

Our server stopped by shortly and let us know he would be with us as soon as possible. We sat there for what seemed to be a bit too long, when suddenly a manager stopped by to fill our waters and take our drink order. She too, was gone a bit too long and finally our carafe of Chianti arrived, full of apologies from our server.

He then took our order, and again, apologized for the slow service thus far. We can see this place is absolutely packed and there are people waiting to get into the restaurant now. I believe Christy and I have more patience than most when it comes to service since we are in the service business ourselves, and train sales and customer service every single week. Because of this, we didn't think it was too big of a deal, just more mediocrity like so many other places.

What I appreciated was how they took a mediocre service situation and made it better than that. They called it what it was. They didn't act like it wasn't their fault. They took full ownership. Some days are better than others in the service industry, but today was the only day for me in that restaurant.

We finished our food, and our server brought our check over. As he set it on the table, he said, "Once again, I apologize for the slow service tonight, I've taken the liberty to buy your wine this evening."

What? No complaint from us about service, no requesting to speak to a manager, no treating him in a bad way because things were a little slow, and BAM, he does something way beyond ordinary. The pizza was good, the wine was good, but before this gesture (because it's more about that than the money to me) I would not have returned to this restaurant.

However, because of the way we were treated in a not so perfect situation, thousands of people will read about this experience and hopefully give them some business when the opportunity arrives.

This is what it's all about for us in the service business. Just do the best you can. That's all you can do anyway and when things don't go as planned or "perfect" for your customer, just do your very best to make it right.

Think about the training and education you've given your team at every level. Do they know where you stand on this? Do they understand your value proposition for the customer? Do they know what the right thing to do is? If not, you've got some training to do, and if so, you've got some reinforcement to do.

To your success,

Kenny

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