Recently Onswitch met with some clients at a local country pub. We have used it regularly in the past for meetings and evening events (it’s a hard life!) however, we shall be using it considerably less in the future. Probably not at all.
When we arrived we were told that all the staff in the restaurant were new that night. Perhaps not the best of ideas to shape your customer service entirely with youngsters new to the catering business? With no experienced senior members of staff working front-of-house that night, the undeniably good food being dispatched by the very capable chef fell a little flat on its (eventual) arrival at our table.
But we’re jumping ahead.
First we ordered drinks. And then returned them. Five times.
The mixer gun had clearly not been connected to the aerating pipe properly, as all the soft drinks ordered were flat. Desperate for a fizzy drink that actually fizzed, one of our clients even offered to show them how to connect the gas, but the offer was met with blank looks.
Finally in possession of the drinks we wanted, we received a doggy bag of someone else’s food.
After despatching the leftover chips to their correct table, we eventually managed to place our own food order after enduring half an hour of updates on recent conquests and social whirls going on not far from our table, where all five waitresses were swapping stories loudly at the bar. Despite frequent attempts to catch an eye, any eye, we were only able to attract attention by going to stand next to our waitress and giving her our order.
When the food arrived, it was good, but by this point we felt that we’d really earned it!
And because it was not wonderfully, amazingly fantastic food to make up for the laughably rubbish service, we decided there and then that this was not to be the venue for the Onswitch Christmas Lunch after all. The next day when we called to cancel our booking for 20 nobody at the pub even asked why.
Of course we told them!
Just what we told them will remain between us, but the thrust of it was this – without excellent customer service, the fancy menu and the fresh seasonal produce cooked to perfection are pointless. Your reputation stands or falls by the front-of-house team. Sound familiar?
You can be the best vet in the world, but if your receptionist is rude and incompetent then people simply won’t come back when there are other places nearby doing all the same things, but doing them much better.
It’s a familiar message, but a hugely important one.
Serve your clients right, or they’ll go elsewhere.
And then it will serve you right.