Customer Service 101

Working in the service industry is no easy task. I am well aware of it as I’ve spent my whole life working in the field. From the medical to the culinary world and art management, I’ve faced very difficult situations that even left me in tears. But one thing they all had in common is that I’ve made it a personal goal to never leave a customer unsatisfied.

A day ago, I stumbled upon a post about a restaurant in Haiti. I do not want to state their name because I believe they can do better than that.  An acquaintance of mine shared her unhappy experience as she was there with a few friends.

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bad review

This translates into:

“I order a filet with fries. As soon as I get my meal, I realize that the meat is releasing a foul smell. I decide to taste it against my will , only to confirm my suspicions: yup! rotten meat! What really shocked me was that after I mentioned it to the waitress and asked her to only bring back the fries without the meat that I previously ordered, she comes back and tells me that they were going to serve me a fresher meat. After insisting that I did not want it, she returns to speak to her supervisor (that I think may actually be a ghost because I have yet to see her) to tell me that I’m going to have to order ANOTHER SERVING of fries if I still want fries. I then pursued to ask her to please let me speak to this “famous supervisor”  that I have yet to meet.  I then explained that I would not pay the bill. The waitress explains to me that if I didn’t, then it would be taken out of her pay.
Would you call that customer service? To threaten the health of your customer and to not even have the GUTS to apologize or even to show your face? It’s time for the concept of RESPECT for the client to be valorized/developed here!”

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And that my friend, was the restaurant’s reply on their Instagram handle:

restaurant reply

 

restaurant reply2

No! No ! No! No! No!

This is the worst of replies when that particular restaurant has had sanitation issues in the past based on many unheard complaints. (sick customers in the past)
Now if you do not care about your customer and you tell them “Go to another restaurant if you don’t like it here” , then they’ll do just that and not only, NOT return upon your request,  but also let many know of the bad service that they received. They will, just like you, NOT CARE!

Come on! This reaction was that of a teenager in a high school recess yard.
The standard, in cases like this is this simple reply :

” We are sorry that you have had a bad experience with us. We will personally reach out to you to address this issue and will do our best to accommodate you” 

The whole “world” is watching and when you are in the field of SERVICE, your customers do not belong to you. YOU belong to your customers.
Personally, I would fire this person who is behind the social media handling of this restaurant. This person is digging their own hole.

And the saddest part is that the common answer I got after sharing that story with several friends, was ” Eh bien! Saw te ekspek? Ayiti wi yo diw. Se konsa Ayiti ye” – What did you expect? That’s what you get in Haiti.
And if you know me, you know how much this irks me to the bone. Do you realize how strong of a statement this is? In this moment, YOU represent your country. In moments like this YOU are Ayiti. Let that sink in for a minute….

We need to start being the difference and it really starts in the smallest situation.

The minute a customer is unsatisfied with a product and/or service, it is primordial that your first reaction is to communicate with them or else, things will escalate.

  1. Go to them immediately. An unhappy customer will soon become impatient.
  2. Hear them out. You do not have to agree with anything they are saying. You simply have to LISTEN silently, remain impartial, exclude your feelings,  and repeat “I hear you”. This lets them know that you are in fact recording the information that they are giving to you.
  3. Repeat the keywords.
    Some Examples:
    “So I understand that the meat was too raw
    “I hear that you did not get the discount you saw advertised
    “I can see that you are unhappy with the wait
  4. Make amends. Offer a solution. It is the ONLY approach and answer to ameliorate an issue that does not reflect the kind of service you provide.
    Professionalism can immediately be deciphered in your problem-solving approach. Even if this solution costs you having to lose a couple of bucks. that meal that you will replace free of charge, is actually an investment in word of mouth (which is the BIGGEST advertisement that there could be) – are you taking notes yet?
    Think about it, before you buy ANYTHING, before you INVEST in anything, the first thing you do is do your research. And most of the time research starts with REVIEWS. It does not matter if you are a business owner or a consumer, your customer’s reaction in your store/restaurant would have been YOUR exact reaction had you received the exact same service.
  5. And please, please hire and train a staff that will represent the FACE of your business. Invest most of what you have in that. They do not have to pay for YOUR mistakes. However, if you train them enough, they can be held accountable for the way they handled the service.

Customer service is responsible for the success of your business. Say what you may, losing one customer can cost you your reputation and your business with it.
Your business is your baby. Do not let anyone tarnish it, do your diligence.