Thursday, September 23, 2010

Customer Service: A personal experience

I live in Atlanta, Ga for those of you who are reading in another country or state. I went to a local sushi restaurant yesterday and was baffled by the horrible customer service that was presented to me. Here's the scenario:

Time: 5:05. The weather had made a freakish turn and it started to rain and thunder. Traffic started to get backed up. Business people and college students were beginning to pour into the restaurant. As I wait for my friends to arrive, I order my drink and am presented with the complimentary sushi plate they serve every Wednesday. THE POWER GOES OUT. All the patrons freak out as the kitchen closes down and the bar halts to a stand still. The restaurant manager is in a frenzy trying to find out what's going on later finding out that the entire block is without power. My server, with the worst attitude, starts to panic and make simple tasks harder for herself. The manager visits each table to tell us what has happened to the power and then disappears. Thinking we should leave, we prepare to pay but find ourselves confused as to how they will be able to scan the credit cards. The server, bad attitude in tow, comes to the table with a piece of paper, calculator, and pen to take down ALL of my information including my credit card number. To make a long story short, the power came back on and hour later and I promptly paid. Promising myself to always bring cash
I don't work in the restaurant business and I don't own a restaurant, but that situation really made me think about the blatant ignorance to good customer service on the part of the person in charge. First of all, as a server, the one thing you don't want to do is have a bad attitude and then expect to get a nice tip. Second of all in an emergency situation, you never want to see your client or customers see you sweat. It shows that you aren't properly prepared for the situation and you don't know how to control your emotions. But my discontent isn't with the server per se, it's with the manager. The person in charge who is supposed to ensure the employees are doing their jobs properly and the customers are well taken care of.

As a manager, CEO, or any other person in a high position, people look to you to ensure that emergencies are dealt with, problems are solved, and the experience is more than pleasurable. The fact that this manager disappeared in the middle of a black out and then had her server walk around, carelessly, with a piece of paper to take our credit card number and information in the day and age of IDENTITY THEFT tells me that she was ill-prepared for this kind of crisis.

Call me expectant of a favor, but I felt like the manager should have did the information gathering procedure herself, been a lot more accommodating, and comped at least everyone's drink.

This goes back to the post "What Business Are You Really In?"
"An industry begins with the customer and his or her needs, not with a patent, a raw material, or a selling skill."
When you put your customer high on the hierarchy, you will be wonderfully rewarded, however if you place the most importance on the product and pushing it to the public, you'll find yourself in a heap of problems.

That is why it's called CUSTOMER SERVICE...not product service.

Stepping off the soap box now...

The Unemployed [but Empowered and slightly annoyed] Entrepreneur

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