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By Shep Hyken

I can’t make this “stuff” up. It really happened! The other night I was at a very nice – and very expensive – steakhouse restaurant. This place was top rated for their steaks and seafood. We all ordered a salad. As the server was setting down the salads, we noticed that one of the salads had a tiny portion of salad compared to the others. It was less than half the amount. The salad didn’t even cover the entire plate. So, my friend spoke up and mentioned it to the server, who replied, “I don’t make them. I just serve them.” And, then he walked away.

We were stunned by his response. I broke the silence by stating, “Well, it looks like I have material for my next article.”

I was hoping that he was joking when he gave his excuse, but unfortunately, he wasn’t. So, let’s talk about what happened.

  1. We all have two jobs: Our server didn’t recognize his most important responsibility, which was to take care of his customer. He just viewed himself as the guy who delivers the food. Everyone must recognize that they have two jobs; to do the job that they are hired to do and to take care of the customer.
     
  2. Be an ambassador for your brand: Our server didn’t realize one of his very important responsibilities, that he was an ambassador for his restaurant. More than just doing his job as a server and taking care of his customer or guest, he is also part of something bigger. His actions reflect on all the other employees. After the dinner, our friends made comments like, “They really have bad service.” The reality is that the restaurant usually has good service. Most of the other employees, if not all of them, are very good at what they do. Yet, one employee ruined the reputation of everyone.
     
  3. Don’t blame others: Our server played the blame game. “I don’t make them. I just serve them.” He was blaming the chef and his staff for the mistake. It may not have been his fault, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t accept the responsibility of managing the experience. A simple apology is a good start. And, making it right, in this case, would have been easy. Just bring the guest a new salad.
     

Nobody and no company is perfect. There will always be mistakes and problems. Some are small, and some are large. It’s how they are handled that is the true test of excellence. A problem is an opportunity to show how good you are. A complaint is a gift, allowing you to respond in a way that proves to the customer that they made the right decision to do business with you.

About Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

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August 4, 2018 12:29am

erin@athleticmindedtraveler.com says:

Having just read Kitchen Confidential, I know that the success of a restaurant or ANY business depends on the Team. This goes for sports and for families. There are very few instances where someone can be and act like an island.

Also, I have had exactly what you had happen too. I requested more greens. What did you do? Did you let the manager know? When I like a business, product, person etc., I am MORE apt to provide the feedback—esp. if it is negative. Why? Because I care. Businesses should always have a set process to hear negative feedback. It is often a gift.
Best,
@healthytravel