Service Tip: Two Sides of Service

2018-03-19 15:00    

Let me recount a trip out with the family for breakfast at a local restaurant. The food was good, but the service was not up to par. We had a new server, and she had obviously not been trained at a level that she needed to be for the busy Sunday morning crowd. But, she tried hard and apologized for her mistakes. She had a great attitude, and because of that I'll go back.

She was so nice, and that is what got us back in the door. Two weeks later we ventured out to the same restaurant. This time we had a seasoned professional serving us. She knew the menu and was very efficient. But, she had a lousy attitude. There was a two-dollar mistake on the bill. I asked her about it and she argued with me. The gist of the story is that my son ordered a "small" portion of a particular dish. On the menu it said "half order." Her comment to me is that unless she hears her customer order a half-order, she assumes he/she wants the full order. I semi-sarcastically said I was sorry that he said small instead of half. She, in frustrated tone of voice, said she would adjust the bill.

When the bill came back it was adjusted and I noticed she had added an 18% tip. (After the sales tax had been figured in, I might add.) Just to confirm I asked her if the gratuity had been added. She said, "Just 18%." Most people would tip 15%. I usually tip 20% or more for good service. But her attitude came up short, so she should feel grateful if I were to leave her even the customary 15% tip. But, I am getting off track.

I won't be going back to this restaurant. You see service that is bad with an apology and good attitude is far better than service that is good with a lousy attitude, which is what this little lesson is all about.

People do business with people. You may go to a restaurant to eat, but the people side of the experience can enhance or ruin the meal. Even when things aren't working a server who is failing but obviously trying hard with the right attitude, can win a customer over. This is true for any business. As customers, we want the best. We want good service. Yet sometimes we don't get it. But when they deliver good effort and attitude, we usually give a second chance.

There is an operational side of service and a people side of service. Don't confuse the two of them. In a perfect business, you need both.