Feed me Seymour. No seriously feed me.
It had been approaching an hour since the five of us sat at the table and placed our food and drink order at a local restaurant/entertainment venue. Our waitress’s name wasn’t Seymour, it was Brittney or Becky or something of the sort. She was nice enough and accommodated my request for extra, extra pickles. Our order was simple and straightforward. The kids were itching to go play the overpriced yet captivating arcade games. Even the adults were getting antsy. Mike K. (ETE Reman technician and good friend of mine) was regressing to the point that he was teaching the kids how to make spitballs. At the one hour and seventeen minute mark a supervisor approaches the table and informs us that our food is on the way out, however one of the entrees is unavailable and we will need to choose another option. Had it had been my order I would have simply passed on the meal and went to play a ridiculous amount of Skee-ball. Unfortunately, it was my eight year old ant summoner that was being told that there was no fish and chips for him. Thankfully he didn’t feel the urge to bellow his wicked screech and simply ordered chicken tenders.
The manager delivered the lukewarm tenders to the table with a promise to comp the meal and the game card. I didn’t complain that my burger was more like a hockey puck than the medium rare deliciousness that I ordered. I didn’t fret about the missing pickles. I accepted what was offered, we paid the bill and went to go collect the highly coveted game tickets.
I could have demanded more. I am not that kind of customer though, but some are. In the service industry I have encountered customers as demanding as Audrey II and I’d bet you have too. “Feed me Seymour, feed me all night long. Cause if you feed me, Seymour….”
Grant me a discount, cause if you do I’ll buy from you. Provide me with additional coverage, cause if you don’t I’ll blast you on a Google review. Bestow onto me everything above and beyond your normal business practices, cause if you won’t I’ll never do business with you again.
How should we react when a customer threatens us? Do we cave to protect the business’s good name? Stand our ground, and refuse to let the customer dictate how we react in sticky situations? Unfortunately, it’s not black and white. You must ask yourself what cost is associated with saying yes. Or no.
When I have one of our reps reach out to me for guidance on a customer concession here’s a few of the questions I ask myself:
When you have a giant Audrey II on the phone or in your face it’s ok to give a little if the payoff is worth it. Keep in control of the conversation, don’t get taken advantage of and evaluate the validity of potential empty threats.
And remember, if all else fails there’s always Seymour’s way out.