A Birthday Rant…

Being a professional marketing consultant, I watch everything (and typically comment on everything) that I see going on around me and my recent birthday dinner was no different. However, what happened is a prime example of why so many businesses are struggling today. They have no clue on how to create strong customer relationships (and more importantly maintain them).

It all started earlier this week, when I celebrated my 43rd birthday. Becky and I had planned to go out on a “date night”, but when our two young daughters heard of our plans, they protested quite loudly.

So rather than going on a nice, romantic dinner for two, we decided on a locally-owned restaurant that makes its own beer. Having made my own beer for years (a lifetime ago), I still enjoy the flavors of hand-crafted brews and I’ve always enjoyed going to this particular restaurant and appreciated its apparent success, since it recently went through a major remodeling and expansion.

Customer-Retention Mistake #1 started right when we walked in, when I noticed at least 10 of the wait staff standing like cattle around the hostess station. I thought it was odd, since none of them even said hello or welcomed us, but I put it out of my mind as we were seated (in a room with plenty of open seats).

Customer-Retention Mistake #2 occurred when I asked the waitress about their seasonal beers. Now mind you, this restaurant’s sole unique value proposition is its homemade beer.

She didn’t have a clue about a single beer I asked about. She then proceeded to tell me she was relatively new and would bring over a more experienced waitress. I would have been fine with that, but this other waitress couldn’t tell me about the beers either.

I was a bit perplexed how to waitresses at a brew-pub couldn’t tell me about their beers, so I did the next best thing, I flipped a coin and chose a new beer and waited for dinner with my family.

Our food came out, but not without Customer-Retention Mistake #3. The woman who delivered our food was not our waitress and as she handed the food out, she dropped a bowl of ketchup, which splattered all over my daughter and wife. I understand mistakes happen, but there was never a mention of offering to clean their winter jackets (which were covered in ketchup) or even offering us a complimentary beverage or taking a portion of the food bill off.

We ate our dinner, which had a noticeable decline in food quality, since our last visit. But the last straw came when our waitress brought us our check without even asking if our kids wanted the dessert that came with their dinner. This was the ultimate Customer-Retention Mistake #4 (at least to our kids).

Giving up, we decided it was time to leave and as we walked out the door my wife and I both made the mental note that we would not be returning any time soon.

Unfortunately scenes like this play out everyday in business. Poorly-trained employees, lack of management oversight, etc. can wreck havoc on a business and today, more than ever, it is critical for every business owner to do whatever it takes to maintain healthy customer relationships.

About Mike Capuzzi

Mike is a publisher, Amazon # best-selling author, and coach for business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders looking to stand out from the competition by authoring, publishing and leveraging short, helpful books. He is the author of 19 books, including two Amazon #1 Best Sellers. Learn more about his publishing opportunities at BiteSizedBooks.com.

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