Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

You Might Be a Restaurant Epic Failure If…

Friday, October 5th, 2012

With all due respect to the comedy of Jeff Foxworthy and his classic riffs on “You might be a redneck if…”, I’m helping myself to a new theme that is a little closer to home –

You might be a restaurant epic failure if… (I’ve personally experienced all of these epic failures in the past 6 months.)

  • Lights or letters in your outside signage are broken for weeks on end
  • Without speaking a word of greeting, your host turns heel, grabs menus, proceeds across the room and exasperatingly gesticulates for the guests to “get-a-move-on-it”
  • You serve any “food” item that rests on a coagulating pool of iridescent orange grease
  • The servers use oven mitts instead of chargers to deliver hot plates, and the mitts look like they have just come from a farm and were used during delivery of breeched calves
  • You commence  uninterrupted power vacuuming of the entire dining area at 6PM oblivious to the dining guests outright rejection of the undertaking
  • Your “seasonal” Christmas decorations are up in July and/or your Fourth of July decorations are up in December
  • You undermine parental responsibilities by pushing soda pop sales on children who are clearly satisfied with water or milk
  • Your uniforms indicate in any way, shape or form that the servers are prepared to clean a carwash or change engine oil
  • When hope is fading for distraught parents who are trying to survive a toddler semi-meltdown and who inquire if you have some crackers to stem the tide – you say “Sure, but I’ll have ta charge ya…”
  • Your training is so thorough that when an item is ordered off your printed menu the server’s response is to throw a sideways glance at the guest, snap their gum and challenge back with a “We have that…?”
  • Your manager’s “back up” of the service staff includes tossing a stack of napkins toward the six year old at a table with four adults to meet the simple request of a few more
  • You have more unbussed tables than you have tables
  • It seems oddly alien, foreign and weird in your culture to do a table/guest check-back
  • You would rather have an impacted molar pulled out with rusty pliers by a tweeker than say “thank you” to your customers
  • Your bathroom looks or smells like the apocalypse
  • The knowledge you possess with regard to guest expectations/satisfaction could be contained within a thimble
  • Your parking lot is empty when your competitor’s is full

The Voice of “The Experience” by The Experienced Voice

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

It was a regular day and I was going to stop at the local, newly remodeled King Soopers (A Kroger grocery store) to pick up some items. Now this was early in the morning and, by nature, the night crew is winding down and the day crew is winding up. I like to grocery shop really early to avoid the crowds, but this places me squarely in the employee performance twilight zone. This store has recently spent a ton of money reinstalling a licensed Starbucks outlet with its own entrance and nicely sized patio. So nice in fact that all eyes are drawn to the Starbucks redesign every time you pull into the parking lot.

And, here lies our problem. There is a rather large NO SMOKING sign placed on the front façade of the patio – large enough to be seen from 50 feet away – that indicates the forbidden practice of smoking on the patio. And yet, my regular first impression of the store is always the employees on their smoke break standing 15 feet from the sign. They could reach out and touch the patio railing (forbidden zone) as their cigarette smoke wafts over the entire area and if the wind is right, all the way to the front door of the grocery store.

I’m not a lightweight when it comes to tolerance of others habits, and I have dutifully worked in more than my share of secondhand smoke workplaces, but times have changed. It is CRAZY for any business to contemplate that any paying customer would like to be hit with cigarette smoke as a first impression, much less allow it. And it is also rather ludicrous to think that any paying customer would care to observe the smoking members of  your  team hanging-out,  out front.

Go now and get your union agreements, workplace laws, designated break areas and security procedures realigned. This may be a complicated fix in your eyes, but it is well worth the “brand” enhancement and professional image elevation.

Allowing your employees to smoke next to a NO SMOKING sign at the front of the store – Come ‘on – you’re better than that.

I live a regular life. No one is shopping for me. No one drives me around. I go out, like most folks do and I experience things like most folks do. The difference is – I know what it takes to create great customer service and quite frankly, many in business don’t seem to have a clue about how to create more than a transaction.

So, from now on – I’m going to write about my experience with your customer service – the good, the bad and the really ugly. I’ll be covering what happened to me and what should have happened if it went off the rails. Hopefully, somewhere, somehow this will provide a launching pad for positive change.