Your customers’ experience with you/your team/your website, etc. is key to how they then feel about you as a company and if they carry on doing business with you. When the key touch points involve person to person interaction we have a unique opportunity, to make a judgement call. Your customers’ online experience can be affecting you, without you even knowing it.
What happens when employees behave like computers?
I was out recently with a good friend and her 3 year old son, for Sunday lunch. We chose to eat at the ‘all you can eat’ carvery style restaurant, because the atmosphere is family friendly and quite leisurely. We took a seat at our table and were invited to go and help ourselves when ready.
After a few minutes of chatter, we made our way over and filled our plates. My friend then made her way over to the waitress,
“Excuse me, could you give me a small plate for my little boy.”
“How old is your son?”
“He’s three,” she answered.
“I’m sorry madam, we don’t allow three year olds to share from their parent’s plate, you’ll need to order a separate meal, this is explained in the menu.”
By now my friend is starting to feel very like she’s not valued
Armed with a plate of food that contained no more food than mine, my friend was a little bit taken aback. There had been no signs anywhere explaining this. We hadn’t picked up the menu because, well, it was known for its Sunday carvery and that’s why we had gone there.
“The thing is he’s a terribly fussy eater, and I fed him before we came. I know he’ll be entertained playing with a bit of the veg on the plate and definitely wouldn’t eat a children’s meal.”
Meanwhile we are all stood slightly surprised, when the girl spoke into her walk talkie. “Could I speak to a manager please?”
My friend then had to explain the same to the manager, all the while food is going cold. “I’m sorry madam, three year olds must have their own meal.”
Point blank my friends request for an extra plate so her son could eat a small bit of veg (that was already on her plate) was refused. We were both rather shocked at lack of person centred focus, the black and white approach and the failure of the staff to make an exception. For a family focussed environment the service levels were anything but.
What would you do as the business owner here?
I can understand sometimes customers may be slightly excessive when sharing, and there is an impact on margin, but in an ‘all you can eat’ carvery?
Eating out is much more than just the food. It’s the experience, it’s how you, as the customer are made to feel. My friend was made to feel like she was tight-fisted, by what we considered poor quality service. I can guarantee neither of us would go there again … so that side plate cost them far more than the child’s meal they wanted to charge for.
Would your decision making be so black and white?