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Don’t Change That Channel!

September 14, 2022 By The Siren Of Support Leave a comment

No matter what you do you will never be able to make everyone happy. There will always be that person that is born just to live a life filled with disappointment. They will find fault in perfection. They will nit pick and nag even if you have fulfilled your promises. 

The soup is too hot. The ice cream is too cold. The service was too fast. The discount was not enough. 

This past weekend was my birthday. While I’m still only twenty-nine for the thirteenth year a row, this was a birthday that required extra attention. A walk on the lakefront, a fabulous dinner and a trip to a new bar in town that I showed interest in checking out. The band was spectacular and they even had the Brewers game on. All the other patrons in the bar seemed to be enjoying themselves as well. All but one. The windows were too open, the kitchen too slow (which it wasn’t), and worse, the wrong game was on the television. This customer asked the bar manager to turn off the local team and put on the Cardinals game. Request denied. You don’t turn off the home team. 

Marty, the bar manager, was polite in his denial. This customer and his group hung around a little longer. When it was time for them to close the tab, Mr. St. Louis approached the bar and quietly, yet brashly, told the bartender that the bar manager was a piece of feces and a male body part. I cleaned that up for your reading pleasure but you can use your imagination to fill in the blanks as you see fit. The bartender did not run to tell Marty. She didn’t argue. She simply handed him his receipt and a pen and dismissed the customer with a smile. 

How do we know which tactic will work best when faced with an unreasonable customer? What tools can we provide our people to be properly prepared in the heat of the moment? 

  • Is it fixable?: Teaching our people to find creative solutions is key to the customer experience. Empower your people to think swiftly and come up with alternative answers. Sure, Marty could have closed the window. A change of the channel is easy. But we still need to ensure that the actions we are willing to take are going to create satisfied customers. What are the pros and cons to the concession? 
  • Is it reasonable?: Closing the window? No problem. Marty said to me that if the guy would have just asked to close the window he would have obliged. Turning off the Brewers game in Milwaukee? Not so reasonable. Never let a customer determine what the right solution is and let them attempt to enforce it. Of course customers will advocate for themselves and that’s when it is our job to establish the best path forward.
  • Is it right?: I’ve said it before, “If it feels good, do it”. Caving to this customers’ demands would not have been the right thing to do for the rest of the bar goers. It was crowded and warm. He could have chosen a different seat. Changing the channel could have upset the thirteen regular customers sitting at the bar. Marty did the right thing.  

You can’t win them all and you can’t make everyone happy. Apologizing or defending Marty would have gotten her nowhere but in an unwinnable argument. Sometimes silence is more powerful and speaks louder than any other response. 

@Nashvillenorthmke you killed it! I will be back, and I’ll keep the windows open and the Brewers/Packers/Badgers game on!

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