Wednesday, 23 June 2010

My old bugbear - customer service, or the lack thereof....

Because of the fact that my mind and brain haven’t been at their absolute sharpest this week (due to the accident as posted below) I decided to leave it a few days before reacting to this Anon comment on the post entitled “With ‘friends’ like this, who needs enemies?”

To the idiotic customers of the world I would just like to make the following comments.

You go out for a meal. Why? Because obviously, deep down, you know these people can provide you with better food than what you can produce.
If you dislike a restaurant or cafe, don't go in every day and bitch about it.
If somewhere is shit, simply do not go there.

If you live in Sandy Bay, Battery Point, South Hobart or you have a lot of money, lucky you, well done, thats great. However just because you have more money than the average person, please do not act as if you are better than us, as it is arrogant, rude and we don't like snobs.
Your arrogance goes straight over the top of my head, and I simply begin to be a smart arse and take the piss out of you, so don't be rude, dont click your fingers at me and do not speak to me as if I am an idiot.

Restaurant owners have been known to tell customers to f*ck off, dont go into some place and expect discounts just because you go in monthly.
If you do get a discount, appreciate it, dont expect it.
Don't order one meal to share between 4 people, as it does not help our overheads and frankly wastes my time.
Please be aware of what goes on around you. If we are making twenty coffees for a table of twenty, please note, they ordered first so their twenty coffees will be made before your coffees are. Any customer with an IQ higher than 7 simply would abide by managements rules

RE BYO food and drink etc etc etc. Look we have had people bring food into this restaurant, and unless they can prove they have some kind of deadly allergy, they can get stuffed.The people who say the customer is always right have obviously never worked in hospitality.

June 21, 2010 4:38 PM

I wanted to respond that I feel this is the attitude of someone who should not be in a frontline customer service position. I’m sorry Anon, but I totally disagree. The fact is that the saying “the customer is always right” means that that should reflect YOUR attitude towards the customer, not that in whatever scenario is confronting you, the customer is correct.

There is a definite line between people who possess the genuine dedicated customer service ethos, and those who have the attitude as expressed above, and unfortunately the majority of people who possess the opinions as expressed above seem to be in the majority in customer service environments, and make that definite line I have just written about way more hazy than it needs to be.

I was about to throw up my hands in utter despair, and walk away from my all-my-life-previously-held very firm belief that there is indeed a way to deliver superb customer service and make ALL your customers, no matter what shape or form they take, walk away from their brush with you in the belief that they have been as well serviced as the situation required (and maybe a bit more) – until I received the BEST email I have had since launching Rita’s Bite/Hobart Food for thought, and which made me regain my trust in the fact that there actually ARE many still out there in customer-service-land still willing to go that extra yard for their customer.

I have been asked to withhold details of who, where and how, for the time being, but let me say that I was totally bowled over finding out about some radical training which is currently being conducted locally and which validates my long-held beliefs in ideal and attainable customer service.

Well done guys – you know who you are. Please take over the world! I love your pillars.
Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

Well it seems likely that from both POV's there are some valid comments.

I forget the place, but you wrote on your blog a few weeks ago about some awesome place with great customer service (Italian Restaurant??) and I then remember someone telling me that the waitress there got $1400 tips one night, or something crazy like that.

Heck, if you can get $1400 tips a night from just being friendly... then why not go for it!

Customer service is ultimately what makes a dining experience - and providing hospitality can be hard, but after a while you begin to love it!

I once had $200 tips given to me by a table of wealthy businessmen - the entire cost of the meal ($1500+) was irelevant to them, as they just wanted an enjoyable experience. The cost did not come into it one iota...

Service standards have fallen lately - and the reason is the lack of training - high school, college and uni students all want a job in hospitality - they don't really care about the business - it's just a job.

What you don't realise people, is that my business is my livelyhood. If I go bankrupt, I end up homeless. So, unlike my staff, who don't really care, I do care. I have to make this work!

I think a pre-requisite for working in restaurants should be some sort of course... whether it be Cert II, III or IV at Drysdale.

I went to Drysdale for lunch last year - and with staff like Robin Black, Kathryn Wakefield and Alistair Cooke working the floor, its no wonder the students are coming out at a high standard.

There is no doubt in my mind that some of Hobart's restaurants will continue to excel, well into the forseeable future.

As always, the restaurants with poor service will close - and those with good service will not.

Anonymous said...

I would hardly endorse two of the three people you mentioned as good trainers last anon especially when they were linked to three failed businesses over the years-thats why they're at Drysdale after all, cant cut it in the real world

Anonymous said...

Well not sure what the three "failed" businesses you allude to actually are?

But I know for certain Lickerish was hardly a failed business in North Hobart - I attended their final supper and I can assure you they were closing due to the landlord wanting to take half their kitchen space.

Anon2 said...

Good people skills and good attitude are qualities which have become increasingly rare in the last 20 years or so. This of course apples to customers as well as employers.
To achieve a success in any "people servicing" business, high standards in these areas are vital. It's not rocket science. There have always been unreasonable and unpleasant customers, usually the minority. A basic understanding of human psychology and training in dealing with problem behaviour does not require a degree. It does require patience, certain attainable skills, and, above all, positive and pleasant attitude.
If employers and their staff have become jaded or cynical about customers, it's time for them to choose another occupation that does not involve much people contact, or face failure in their endeavours.
Every time I encounter a grumpy waiter, sales assistant or cab driver who's "attitude" is immediately apparent, I occurs to me that they are in an occupation ill suited to them when they don't seem to like people very much.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but apparently ABC Hobart has a new 'resident' foody, Nola Jones, who is on local radio now-what happened to Foodlovers Roger and Sue?

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that the emphasis should be placed on staff getting worse or customers. At the end of the day, we are all people. People in general are getting worse. Less respect for our elders, the law, general decency and each other.
I have not logged on to the site for a while Rita, and it would appear that the level of agro on here is increasing as well, which is a shame. Wasn't the blog supposed to be about food? Or is bad customer service easier to write about? Please don't become the Herald Sun and just focus on the negative/lowest common denominator.

I know of some of the people mentioned above and have mixed opinions about each of them. The students that are coming out of Drysdale are dissapointing, but I don't think that is entirely up to those three. The old saying bad results = bad teacher, good result = good student comes into play here and across on the mainland as well.
There are a few new players that will make big in-roads in the coming months in regards to training. Someone mentioned a compulsory cert II and III for staff and these players will make that a possibility without much additional cost to the venue.
Rita, I do enjoy your blog and believe I will be able to meet with you soon.... That sounds a little stalkerish, but it will be with a foodie we both know.

Nola said...

Hi Anon 12.54.

The Nola you are referring to would be me. Worry not, Roger and Sue are not going anywhere! They remain with the ABC as always.

I should be spending some time on air with Michael Veitch, who was doing the afternoon program but has just moved to mornings. As I am moving to Melbourne in two weeks, this is all a bit up in the air at the moment. I'm hoping to get down to Tassie every month or so, but I honestly have no idea where life is about to take me.


sir grumpy said...

Yes Rita, I saw that post and thought it was rough.
We know the public can be difficult but so can some restaurant staff (we've been lucky 99 per cent of the time).
You need to be tolerant of people and actually LIKE the species to be in that business.
Oh dear.

Tassiegal said...

Hey Nola,
I'll take your ABC gig!

Anonymous said...

Hey TG!
No one reads you now!

Onmysoapbox said...

I have been in Hospo for over 20 years working all over the country, and I am sorry but I agree with some (SOME) of what was mentioned by Anon "With 'friends' like this, who needs enemies?"

In particular over the past 10 years I have notice a change in the attitude of some of my customers/ guests (not all, I have had some wonderful customers/ guests, some of which I keep in regular email contact with). And I think as some of it has come from the populatity of cooking shows- Master Chef, etc.

Diners now see the art of cooking as something any accountant/ lawyer/ white collar publc servant can do. Yet these sort of people weren't prepared to put up with the sometimes low wages, unsocialable hours and sometimes poor working conditions to work in this industry. Instead they sit back, earn their 6 figure salaries and look at those of us who enjoy the art of cooking and enjoy servicing customers and think because they've seen it on masterchef they can do a better job.

A saying I have heard once
'Just because I am in the service (hospitality) industry, doesn't make me your servant'.

I really enjoy my industry and am an industry LIFER, all I am asking is for some respect, I have put in the time to gain my trade qualification in the art of cookery working under some atrocious conditions and pay rates, as I respect any who devote time to their occupation.

I am trying to give back to my industry by employing the next gen of Hospo professionals, so please leave your attitude at the door, come in enjoy my food and service as I enjoy servicing your needs.

On another issue, please watch the documentary 'Food Inc'. I would like to read comments that come from this film.

KR said...

The elephant in the room is the fact that most people find themselves in the Hospitality industry as they didn't get the marks to become doctors or lawyers. So bearing that in mind, get over yourselves, cook and serve my dinner with a smile thankyou very much OR go back to school and improve your lot in life.

Anonymous said...

Oh KR. I don't think everyone aspires to be a doctor or solicitor. A good chef and a good front of house person both have skills and intelligence that the narrow world of university doesn't always serve.

Onmysoapbox said...

This is the exact attitude I was commenting on and have seen a rise of in recent years.

So am do I read this as you think all Hospo staff are not educated, somewhat simple? Please enlighten me.

What are thoughts of people working in retail, they stupid, simple. What other service occupations do you think are simple people? Please I am genuinely interested in your opinion, you oh-so wise one.

And sorry believe it or not KR I am happy with my 'Lot in life', thanks very much.

You want a smile, then treat others with the respect deserved and you'll be suprised what else you get.

Anonymous said...

Yes and I would like to add something please. :)

Just because we work in hospitality, does not mean we are too stupid or dumb to go to uni, or be a doctor, lawyer or teacher.

Also for the shallow people who think that rubbish truck drivers and cleaners etc etc etc are losers: Can I please just point out that

A) At least they arent staying home doing nothing
B) SOMEONE has to do these jobs, no matter what your or anyone else thinks

I am a Hospitality Industry worker - Sure I've made money - but I have made some fantastic friendships too - and if I had the desire to work in a boring 9-5 desk/office job, there is no doubt in my mind that I am capable of doing so.

Anon2 said...

This is just the way Nazi Germany started, a lot of layabouts with nothing better to do but...... Oh God! Fawlty Towers Syndrome is back!!

Tassiegal said...

Anon on June 24 @ 4:10
No one read me in the first place so whats changed? :-D

Anonymous said...

KR your a WANKER i bet your a lawyer