Feed Me Seymour

April 19, 2022 By The Siren Of Support

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: 

  1. Is being right more important than doing what’s right?: If the policies that govern what can be done for an upset customer contradict your company’s core values then DO what is right. Do not base your decision on a piece of paper. Is being right worth losing a customer? Disclaimer: Move it up the chain of command if your position does not allow you the discretion. 
  2. W.W.S.D.: What would Sari do, rather than what would Seymour do? What would I expect from a company if I was in the customer’s shoes? Would I cause a scene? Would I actually write an online review, or would I tuck my tail and walk away? I surely wouldn’t let a pushy, ungrateful customer take the life out of me.  
  3. Is it worth it?: While we can’t allow our customers to bleed us dry, we have to take into consideration the benefits and costs associated with the decision. If we say no, do we risk losing a large customer and the profits that come along with them? If we say yes, do we set a precedent of being a pushover? It’s important to look at the bigger picture and not just the situation at hand.   
  4. Does it feel good?: Sure, poking your finger to feed an alien plant hurts a bit. So does giving more than you should to a customer that is trying to drain you. When making concessions to a customer keep a gauge on how it feels. If you feel like you are being taken advantage of, or that they are making excessive demands, shut it down. Be respectful and tell them what you can do. Not what you can’t do.  

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.