I went to pick up dinner for my family at one of my favorite restaurants. They have some of the best food. The prices are reasonable too. I pay about $50, feed my family and I usually have some leftovers. On this particular evening, the young lady behind the counter must have been having a bad day. When it was my turn to order, she flipped to the next order sheet and looked up at me. No smile, no words, just a blank stare. I placed my order, she gave me my total, I paid the bill and we were obviously done.
I had a ton of things to do the other day so lunch came from the drive through. My fries would be a minute. The fries are my favorite part, so I don’t mind waiting. Then the lady opened the window, smiled really big, flipped open her cell phone and offered to show me pictures of her new grandbaby. If you are going to be waiting, I can’t think of a better way. The food was cheap and quick. But I would have paid extra for the service.
Now, I am not saying that flaunting baby pictures is the key to good customer service. I am certain that some may have been put off by the display. I am not one of those people. I would also hope that those kind of people would at least appreciate the attempt. I certainly did.
I think back now about those two meals. One product was obviously superior. However, the level of service normally would make it a place I would not return again. I would rather go through a drive through than be subjected to a bad attitude taking my hard earned money. I say normally because I know the caliber of people that own the place. I am assuming their employee was just having a bad day and we are all entitled to one of those. However, if I was new to town or just passing through, I would have just assumed bad business.
Let’s talk about the bad days. Seems like more people are having (or at least say they are having) more of them. Fine. Such is life. Seems like most bad days are a direct result of bad business. If that is the case, then I would think that people would look for ways to make business better – not worse. If bad business breeds a bad attitude that breeds bad business, you have created a circle of business death. Never mind the fact that being happy is better for your health (that’s a proven fact) it is also better for your business.
I know things are tough in many businesses. I know some folks are stressed and that is understandable. But shooting your own business in the head with poor customer service is not the way to survive. Even in a booming economy folks look for people they enjoy doing business with. When people work hard to earn an income, they want to enjoy spending the part they get to keep.
Building a business is a lot like growing flowers. There is no way I can plant enough flowers to change the world. But I can plant them in my little corner and change my part. I can do it with a smile and sincerity. Clients will come back and support a flower garden like that. But I would love to hear what you think.
April Groves covers all things business for the Bryan County News. You can send thoughts, press releases, tips and questions you’d like answered to agroves@bryancountynews.