Keep your problems behind the scenes…

The other day I arranged to meet a former colleague of mine in a little café that I always enjoy going in. It has a lovely, friendly vibe which it mixes well with a rustic coolness. Also, it always manages to play some killer tunes which I find wishing I had on my iPod.

I’m guessing you’re getting the picture that I like this place – I hope so, because I really do. So much so that I felt pretty gutted when I witnessed them, first hand, take a gun, load the bullet, pull back the trigger and shoot themselves squarely in the foot!

I had sat down with my coffee and was watching with interest as a customer went to the counter to order some food.

I didn’t catch what she ordered, but I did hear her ask how long the food would be.

The girl behind the counter shouted into the kitchen, and a few moments later, the owner (who I shall call Bob for the sake of this) popped his head round the corner.

He was armed with a spatula in one hand and an egg in the other, and was wearing a very harassed look on his face. He stared at the customer and said: “We’re very busy. It will be at least 20 minutes.”

Now, if those words weren’t bad enough, he accompanied them with a big sigh, a shrug of the shoulders, and a rolling of the eyes that suggested what a stupid question!

 To top it off, he then looked at me, looked at the offending customer and shook his head before disappearing back into the kitchen.

This amazing scene, ripped straight from the pages of How Not to Treat Your Customers, was then finished off by the poor customer shuffling her feet and mumbling an apology.

Yes, you heard me right. The customer, after asking what I thought was a reasonable question, was left feeling like she had to say sorry for asking!

Incredible!

In just one instance, my opinion of Bob and his business crashed. I accept Bob was probably having a bad day and was most likely short-staffed, but here’s the thing – THAT’S NOT THE CUSTOMER’S FAULT!

In business, whatever is going on behind the scenes is exactly where it should stay. Customers quite rightly don’t care about you, only the results you deliver. Don’t do a Bob and shove your bad day in the face of your customers, because you’ll only do it once…

This tip fits in quite nicely with not buying a ticket for the Blame Train (a previous post) but is another example of how your hard work can be undone so easily and quickly if you’re not careful.

 

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