What a Serve!

I was absolutely astonished recently as I had lunch with a colleague in a local cafe/restaurant, who is by all accounts doing “average business”.
We like the restaurant as it’s handy, close by and usually – although not always – the staff are quite efficient and friendly. Now, it must be said that I have a bee in my bonnet about customer service. You know the sort of thing – which managers and the people working in establishments don’t always get – that is that the ultimate function of all of them is to “serve the customer”. If you do that well, and your quality’s good, with a fair price, well it’s not rocket science to know that those people will come back again, and probably recommend others.

The economy?s not good, places are closing and the chances of many restaurants lasting for 5 years are sinking. So with all this in mind, I could not quite believe what I was witnessing in this high potential restaurant.
At lunch, there’s a carvery and queuing process, orderly and usually moves OK.

Well, not this time. As a queue grew longer, and people were waiting, two members of staff were eating their own lunch, and busily chatting, while the queue grew longer. The existing two members at the counter were very focused on serving the customers at hand, but the other two were oblivious. I noticed people at the end of the queue were voting with their feet. What an opportunity lost for revenue. Eventually after about 10 minutes of this, the two well fed service folk decided to saunter back to their duties and order was restored.

It must be obvious that if you want to survive, service is essential and sometimes that means the customer is always first. I do not know if these people had been trained, but my guess is they had, but that they don’t really get the idea behind what the customer experiences dictates if they will come back again.
Let’s do the maths. Let’s say six people left the queue – they would each have paid Eur 10 each on average this visit EUR 60. Let’s say three would have come back another 20 times in the year, but won’t now -a Eur 10 average, that’s actually Eur 600. Let’s say if they had a good experience, then they might have brought a couple of other as regular customers, which could be another Eur 600.
Let’s say the staff does this twice a week to others. You get the point, how we serve customers is not just about this visit. There’s always a knock on effect. You have to look after your customers in a consistent way, and always, if you want to survive and grow your business, and yes, employ people like the ones who let the customer down. However, getting the right service people with the right attitude and proper behavior is crucial.
Don’t let your business go down the tubes because you haven’t trained your staff!

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