Yikes. I didn't even realize that the last post I wrote was from May! Time really flies; we're at the end of June now and with that, six months has gone by in 2010. Crazy!
Anyway, my rant for the day is in reference to a recent tweet I made about this restaurant called Pepenero. Now, just to be clear, I am in no way complaining about the restaurant itself, the company, the institution -- not at all. I am complaining about one particular individual at the restaurant, who claimed he was the manager.
The thing is, I get it when they say, "No refills", but what I don't get is, when my friend - who obviously did not know of this policy - repeatedly asked for a refill, no one bothered to tell her that the restaurant's policy was a "no refills" policy. They simply nodded, but never came back with a refill. When the manager finally came around to responding to the request, he came back with a glass of hot water (instead of fulfilling the request of additional hot water for my friend's pot of tea). Naturally, as this was not what my friend asked for, she raised a complaint. Her complaint was then met with an answer "We don't serve refills" to which she responded, "Then you should have mentioned something to me earlier." The way that he answered her after that was just so rude, that she lost patience and said that the restaurant had just lost a loyal customer. And believe me when I say she's loyal, because we have repeatedly gone there and have repeatedly received wrong orders, wrong bills, and we still went.
What surprised me most was his response to her statement, which was basically a very arrogant, "So what?" He then pointed out that the restaurant was still doing very good business, so it basically didn't matter if she never returned.
Now, I'm someone who works in the luxury business here and for me, customer service, customer satisfaction and CRM is basically the entire basis of our business (well, besides the actual products, of course). We only survive because we treat our customers well and provide them with what they need. Our customers have repeat business with us because they feel comfortable with us, they get their needs met, and we treat them with the high respect they deserve. So imagine my shock when he so arrogantly told her (in so many words) that losing her/us as customers didn't matter! I was utterly appalled and disgusted!
Don't these people understand the value of patronage these days? How difficult it is to survive in the business world if you don't have the right attitude?
Here's my two cents worth to all restaurant operators, restaurant managers, etc: for heaven's sake, please treat your customers well. Even the worst customer should still be shown respect. You can defend your policy and whatever it is you believe in, but I have always believed that you can say it nicely and rephrase your words so that they don't sound rude.
The old saying is that the customer is the king, and I can attest to it. When we give them the service, they'll come back. And if you go the extra mile, they'll come back with seven folds, i.e. more people.
Never, ever tell a customer they don't matter, because word of mouth and the power of the internet is never to be underestimated. See how many people are on Twitter and how many followers they have (and how many followers their followers have, and the list continues), and you'll know how many people can potentially be influenced.