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Convert a complainer into a friend 04 Sep 2019

Don’t you hate it when someone complains? The natural reaction is to defend yourself.

“Is our lunch ready yet, it’s been half an hour since we ordered it,” complained a customer at a café.

“We’re very busy,” snapped the waitress.

The customer noted half the tables were empty but said no more. He didn’t go back there for three years.

The snappy waitress has moved on and the new staff are very welcoming. The complainer has become a regular customer again.

While it’s not absolutely true the customer is always right (sometimes they are genuinely unreasonable), it’s usually the case. The waitress should have taken the complaint back to the boss who should have tried to find out what was causing the long delays in serving the customers.

The important thing to remember is: a person who complains is almost always your friend.

They give you the chance to do something about a problem and stop offending other customers. Yes, it’s upsetting to be told you’re doing a bad job, but get used to it because there’s an odds-on chance it’s true.

Work out what’s wrong and change your systems to fix it.

What else should the waitress have done? She should have made sure the customer left happy. She should have been empowered to give the customer a voucher for a free … next time and offered an apology.

The customer looked up his expenditure for a year at the café, which can be easily done online by looking at your bank account, and calculated this waitress cost her employer about $2000 in lost sales.

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