A Tofu Incident
Today, I had lunch at a Thai restaurant. Why I am writing to you about this? Well, because an incident happened in the restaurant that illustrates how not to handle a customer complaint.
To continue, I was quietly eating my lunch, reading tweets I received when I heard someone calling for the waiteress.
The waitress approached the customer and she began to complain that there were only three pieces of tofu in the lunch she ordered. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Are there really people out there that count how many pieces of tofu they get with their meal? Seriously. (I suppose if you love tofu you would.)
The startled waitress tried to explain why she only got three pieces. At this point I was trying hard not to listen to the conversation (she was seated at a table not very far from where I was) but to no avail as her voice was quite loud. The menu was presented to her showing that if she did choose the other dish she would have had more tofu. She ended by asking if customers only got three pieces of tofu.
A few more words from the customer and the waitress offered to replace her lunch with a new one in order to placate her but she mentioned she did not want a replacement, all she wanted was more tofu.
At this point I finished my lunch, stood up, paid, and left. I assumed that she did get her tofu.
As I was walking back to the office I thought about this incident and the restaurant could have handled the situation much better by giving in to her request rather than explaining to her why she only had three pieces of tofu. If she got the additional tofu immediately she would have had a bad experience turned good and would have a pleasant memory of the incident.
The lesson from this incident is that it is always better to make a client feel special; that they end up feeling or thinking that you gave a bit more that what was really necessary. Doing this makes it easier for you to ask for a referral if you so wish because they will feel obliged to return the favour which is really what you want if you want to grow your business.