Food Geek Friday: Money Talks

A series of small events took place this week that led up to this post. (Warning: this Food Geek Friday isn't exactly food related but it started in a restaurant so here we are.) So what started where I'm going?

  • The other evening, I was at a local restaurant for a friend's birthday happy hour and received outstanding service - as I always receive in this restaurant.
  • The next morning, my dad and I had breakfast at a new restaurant. Last time we were there was opening week and we had great service and a killer chicken fried steak. This time? You would have thought our server was still asleep. Or mute. The only thing he said to us the entire time we were there was "Whatdoyawannadrink?" and "Areyoureadytoorder?" Barely audible mumbles. Seriously didn't say anything else.
  • A few hours later, a friend posted this on FB: "I honestly believe that rebuilding the economy is presenting us all with a great opportunity to decide what companies,businesses,and individuals will be present and thriving in the future. If you think of your money as deciding who/what you want to survive the current dismal economic situation you effectively shape the landscape of the future.This is a chance to fill the world with good people doing good things."
  • Last night, I learned that my organizing client had tried to contact an event vendor I know (client didn't know our connection at the time of initial contact.) It took this "professional" over THREE weeks to respond with barely an apology and no reason.  Unacceptable.

My friend really nailed it - our money is our voice. We decide what businesses get to survive and who fails. If you receive bad customer service, tell them. If nothing changes - STOP GIVING THEM YOUR MONEY!

I see this all. the. time. with restaurants. Crap services and yet everyone shows up and throws money at them because they forget it's not the only game in town. My favorite saying?

"I refuse to reward your bad service with my hard-earned money."

My breakfast the other day? Ah-may-zing chicken fried steak with barely delightfully average hash browns. This CFS was good enough to make me not care about the hash browns. It wasn't, however, good enough to make up for the fact that our server lacked basic human interaction. I'm not even talking service skills, just basic human communications. You know, "hello." "How are you?" "How was everything?" "Thank you for forking over some money." "Kiss my ass."


First words out of my mouth when we left?

"I don't care to give them any more money."

Dad replies that I loved that CFS. He's right, but nothing is good enough to make up for even the most basic of decent customer service.

And this so-called event pro that took three weeks to return contact to a person that was already sold? Unacceptable behavior. My client asked if she should consider her at all and I said no. In the beginning is when we as service professionals should be honeymooning the client. We should offer value and want to win their business. If it takes three weeks for first contact with NO reason given, it's only going downhill from there.

When I think of awesome customer service, I immediately think of three places - my fave restaurant, my fave bar and the shop I take my car to. Every time I walk into the restaurant, they greet me with a hug, a welcome and "We have a seat waiting just for you." My fave bar answers all requests with absolutely. My dad recognized how much I must love my shop since I'll turn down a free oil change from him at a different shop in favor of paying for it myself at my shop.

And everyone smiles! It's hard for even the crankiest of customers to stay cranky when one of these people talk to you. (Of course, it helps tremendously that they all love what they do...but that's a story for another time.) 

Do you have a business or are in any position that offers customer service? Please respect that your client's money is hard-earned and they can take it elsewhere. Treat them well and do your job to the best of your abilities. If you can't do the job - DO SOMETHING ELSE! Awesome customer service inspires loyalty and the best advertising ever - word of mouth. Why go to the place you'll be barely acknowledged when you can go to the place that treats you like or better than family? Make yourself a joy for customers to give their money to.

There is a darling little breakfast/sandwich shop not too far from me. The first time I went in, I noticed a sign above their cash register. It said, the customers are not here for us; we're here for them. The customers do not need us; we need them. We are not put out by having to serve a customer; we are happy they came and allow us to serve them.

If more businesses thought this way, you'd have a LOT more successful businesses and happy clients.

And to the consumers - spend your dollars where you are treated well. Love a restaurant's food but hate their service? Tell a manager. (In a calm and objective way.) Nothing happen to rectify the situation? Stop going. There are a few restaurants in town that I used to love but stopped going to because I was treated poorly and it never got fixed. Same goes for anywhere you spend your money. If you are not treated with basic good manners and common courtesy then take your money elsewhere. Money talks and there is always another game in town that will be happy to take your money instead.

Remember - You can absolutely refuse to reward bad service with good money.