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Don’t tell us your problems! 18 May 2016

An elderly couple were having lunch at a café. After half an hour the grumpy old man called the waitress over and said their quiche had not arrived. 

When told half an hour was too long to wait for his lunch, the waitress said the cafe was very busy.

Never tell customers your problems. Just put things right as quickly as possible and send the customer away feeling chuffed with your service. In this case, an apology and a voucher for a free cup of coffee next time would probably have resolved the problem. Empower your staff to do whatever is needed. They shouldn’t need instructions from you.

Scene 2. Same cafe, same couple. They arrived just after 3.30pm and cafe staff were washing down the coffee machine. 

“Sorry, we're closed at 4pm,” one of them said. 

“But it's not much after 3.30,” the man said. 

“Well, yes, but we've closed down the coffee machine. You can have tea if you want.”

The cafe and staff are running this business to suit themselves. Six months have gone by and the couple have never been back. Even worse, they’re telling their friends about their experience.

A review of comments on the café’s website confirms the couple had something to complain about. Don’t the owners care about what customers are saying about their business?

Don’t let your staff tell customers about their problems. Empower them to make customers happy so they keep coming back. And check comments on your website and social media.

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