Make it Right

A friend recently went out to a nice Steakhouse on a rainy day. She was asked to check her umbrella and jacket so as to not get water on the restaurant’s floor. After a lovely meal she goes to the coat check and they give her the jacket but, her umbrella is missing. When she spoke to the manager he said, “Someone else claimed your umbrella as theirs. Bad things Happen.” Yikes, that is not the way to handle these situations. My friend, whom is quite the social butterfly, proceeded to post on Facebook about it as well as writing the restaurant owners. As she stated it wasn’t the umbrella it was ten dollars and can be easily replaced but, how they handled the situation was atrocious.

How we handle our clients and customers when they are disappointed says a lot about us. Often more than when things are going smoothly. I know that in this litigious age everyone is very sensitive to doing anything that could admit fault for fear of being sued. However, sometimes we have to make it right. I was a clothing store manager while working my way through college. I had an incredible boss who taught me a lot of life lessons along with how to be a corporate representative. Once when a customer came in with a sweater that was in tatters due to her husband washing it at home instead of taking it to the cleaners I took the sweater and said along the lines of “What a tragedy, this was a beautiful sweater. Why don’t you pick out something from our current line and I will make an exchange for you.” One of the sales clerks was shocked and I told her of course it wasn’t our fault but, we are making the situation right. It will cost the company about $15 dollars to replace the sweater, but I guarantee that lady will be coming here for years to come when she wants a new sweater and she will be spending much more than $15.

If that restaurant manager had simply apologized for the rudeness of the other patron and possibly taken five minutes to walk my friend out to her car with his umbrella image how differently my friend’s experience would be. Instead of being insulted and outraged and determined to never eat there again as well as warning her friends about the lack of empathy and character displayed by the employees she would have been telling everyone within ear shot and text shot about how wonderfully attentive the restaurant was. She would be hosting dinners with friends and family there for a long time and speak fondly of the restaurant every time someone mentions steak.

Making the situation right very rarely will cost a company a huge sum of money. Sometimes a few minutes of personal attention will do the job and, any time a company does spend money to appease a customer, especially when the customer first brings the disappointment to our notice, it will be a minor cost compared to what we receive in return. A happy customer singing our praises is the best investment we can make.

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