My favorite thing about this past week was getting to celebrate my mom’s birthday with her. Her birthday isn’t until Thursday but I went into the city on Sunday and took her out for lunch. We started with a walk along the Hudson River, we figured we’d pick a restaurant along the way. The picture here is of us with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background. We ended up at the Paris Café. As it turns out, it was established in 1873, and is the oldest pub in the neighborhood. I had an omelet, Mom had fish and chips and a Bellini. As we wrapped up our meal they brought over a piece of cheesecake with a candle in it and sang Happy Birthday to Mom. I’d highly recommend it.
How you treat your customers is everything. As Mom and I were looking at the menu deciding whether or not to go in, a man opened the door to go in and said, I’ve been here many times, the food is great. Based on that simple comment we walked in, and were quickly seated. They’d never seen me before, and had no idea that I write a regular newsletter to thousands of people. They treated me with respect and a smile. I told them it was my mom’s birthday as we sat down, not because I wanted to get a complimentary dessert, but because I wanted the maître d’ to wish my mom a happy birthday. When the waiter came over, I also told him. I wanted Mom to feel special.
Last night at dinner Eric told us a story of a client who purchased a sandwich at the deli he works at. Turns out there was a mistake with the order, and the sandwich had cheese on it. The client called and complained. The manager (who’s also the owner) took full ownership of the mistake and was very apologetic. They serve hundreds of sandwiches a day and sometimes mistakes are made. He offered the customer a credit, to remake the sandwich, to refund them their money, or whatever they wanted. (Eric overheard the conversation so I know that this is how it went down). The client was not satisfied. They didn’t want the money or anything else. Instead they said that, after being loyal clients for over ten years, they were simply going to spread the word to all of their friends that the deli isn’t good.
What both of these examples show is the power your clients have. Yes, sometimes those clients can be unreasonable. In the end you can only control your side of the interaction. In the case of Paris Café, all it took was a Bellini, a piece of cheesecake, and, what I’m sure is their normal, service and good food, for me to spread the word to thousands of people. For the deli, it is was a slice of unwanted cheese, and a customer that would not accept a genuine apology along with the desire to make things right.
You can’t control your clients’ reactions. All you can do is your best. To take ownership of mistakes. And to thank and appreciate everyone who walks through your doors.
What type of good, and bad, client experiences have you had? What did you do about them? How did those experiences reverberate through your business? Share them with me below.