I just finished a lecture to my students in the Dining Room class that I teach. The focus of the lecture was on how to handle customer complaints. The theme that I found myself going back to over and over again was: Follow through!
The theme has obvious applications beyond handling customer complaints, but I will use examples from that first. If a customer has a problem–let’s say their steak is not cooked to their liking–it is imperative that the right people get involved (manager, chef, etc.), but it is even more important that someone–whoever that is going to be–follows through!
If I, the manager, bring the steak back to the kitchen, hand it to the chef and explain the situation, it doesn’t matter one bit if, when the steak is re-cooked, it just sits in the pick-up window getting cold, and is not delivered back to the customer.
Too many times there is just no follow through. That steak needs to be run out to the customer ASAP, and someone, probably the manager, needs to check back to make sure that it is cooked correctly this time. What is the point, otherwise?
Sometimes, on my way to work, I will stop off at a food cart to buy some lunch. If I get a burrito and ask for two or three hot sauces to go with it, and they smile and say thank you, and yes they can do that, it is my expectation that they were listening, and were going to give me what I asked for.When I walk away and I notice that I was not given any hot sauce, what am I to think? Or do? Can I get my tip back?
That may seem picky, but whether it is hot sauce, napkins, the drink I ordered, or something else, my point is still valid.
So, I say unto you: Follow through! Every time! It doesn’t matter what the situation, or what business you are in.
I just love these gems:
“Oh yeah, you asked for your check. Be right back.”
“Oh shoot, I forgot you wanted another glass of wine. Let me get that.”
“Oh that’s right, you wanted more water. Sorry about that.”
It’s okay, the fire in my mouth from the spicy food is almost out. Sorry about the 8% tip (too generous in some situations if you ask me–and I am a notorious over-tipper).
I can even tell when the server is not paying attention, but am helpless to do anything about it. Sometimes, after I am sure they didn’t hear a word I said to them I feel like saying something on the inappropriate side, just to see if they were listening. My wife won’t let me do that.
When you are at work–work! Do the job. Pay attention. And if your boss tells you to take that steak off of the check–take the damn steak off of the check. It is really fun dealing with an irate customer after I had said that I would take an item off of the check, and then the server forgot to do it. Yikes.
How about I just leave you with that heading this time instead of going in to my over-played theme of training, training, training?