So there I was enjoying a Mother's Day dinner with my wife and my family, and we were at a restaurant. And it got to the end where I had to ask for the bill. They brought the bill over, and I said, "Where do I pay?" And they said, "You have to go and queue up over there. Now actually, I got the bill delivered to me at 11 minutes past 7pm. And it took me until 7:26 to actually be able to pay for the bill. That's how long the queue was. And I thought, "You know what? This really doesn't cut it for me. This is not good customer service."
Anyway, I said to the person who was behind the desk, "Are you the manager?" They said, "Yes, we're the manager." Or, "I am the manager." And I said, "Great, are you open to some feedback?" And she said, "Yeah, I'm open to some feedback." I said, "Great. I just wanted to have a chat to you about the length of time." I said, "Can you have a look at what time my bill was printed, and now what time you're actually taking my payment?" And she looked. And I said, "You can say that it was like 15 minutes from the time it was printed to the time it was paid." And I said, "Maybe you could take the payments at the tables or you could have multiple EFTPOS machines or a better system. And this, 'cause obviously this is creating some congestion in your business.
And she said to me, she said, "Oh, it's the busiest day of the year." And I said to her, "I understand that, but it's not what a customer wants to hear. I get that it's the busiest day of the year, and here's the frustration. The reality is, is Mother's Day has been the same day for generations of years. We know when Mother's Day is. So as a business, if you know you've got a busy period coming up, cater for it." For that particular point in time she could've come up with a system that meant that she didn't have a 15 minute queue, just to pay the bill.
Because it's a real turn off. I don't ever want to go back there, 'cause I just feel like the service is not a priority. That their priority is not us as a customer. And really, when you think about your customer, you want to make sure that you give them an experience that they're delighted by. Yet the last experience I had at that restaurant was a bad experience. And now I'm telling you about it. And I'm gonna tell-- I'm not gonna say what restaurant it is, I don't need to be doing that. But I guess it's about learning the lesson and understand that a customer doesn't want to hear if you're having a bad day, or if it's the busiest day you've ever been - that you've ever had.
Remember, the customer is tuned into one station, and one station only. It's called WII FM. "And that's What's In It For Me?" That's all the customer's interested in, is, "What's In It For Me?" The customer wants to have a great experience. Sure, I can empathize a bit, I know it's busy. But I don't think there's any excuse for leaving a customer standing in a queue at a restaurant for 15 minutes to pay a bill. And especially when the service wasn't that good throughout the meal either. So they really let their customers down on this particular day.
Now if you know, like I said, you've got a busy time coming up. You can take extra precaution, put extra resources in. For example, she could have hired an extra couple of mobile EFTPOS machines from her bank for that particular day, knowing how busy it was gonna be. I'm sure florists order extra flowers and have extra staff on for Valentine's Day, right? It's the same day every frigging year.
So, if you have a customer say something to you, never ever make the excuse that, "Oh, we're just busy or--" They don't care about that. Apologise, say, "Look, I'm sorry you didn't get the service you expect. We clearly haven't lived up to your expectations today, please accept my apology. I hope to see you again soon." That's really the best thing that you can do. At the end of the day, letting down customers is not a great way to grow any business. And interestingly, when I looked on TripAdvisor after eating there, their rating was really low. And the main reason was a lack of service. So obviously there's something going on in that business that's far bigger than just that one problem. And maybe I'll give them a cold call and have a chat to them about how they could improve their service.
So there you go, the one thing a customer never wants to hear is the problems that you're having that stop you from delivering great value. So make sure that you don't fall into that trap. Hopefully you've enjoyed the video. Make sure you subscribe. And hey, if you've had a similar experience in your business, or you feel that you don't agree with me - leave your comments down below, I'd love to hear from you. And of course, if you enjoyed the video, share it with others. Let other people know about it.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.