Is Your Business Taking Its Loyal Customers For Granted?

Last weekend Jayne and I dined out to celebrate my birthday.

As is our tradition, we dined at our favourite restaurant where the menu is always a degustation experience. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon, dining on fine food, enjoying fine wine, enjoying excellent customer service, and enjoying each other’s wonderful company. It’s a small indulgence that Jayne and I enjoy every year.

The degustation menu is an interesting experience. The restaurant always has a leaning toward seafood, which as many readers know is the dietary choice that Jayne and I made some twenty-eight years ago.

Being a pescatarian [and I hate labels] does have its challenges when dining out. And that’s simply because we believe that just because we choose not to eat meat and poultry, doesn’t mean that food outlets can substitute  a vegetable alternative for us to replace beef or pork or chicken, when a seafood alternative is available. Which often happens.

In fact, restaurants and functions that serve up vegetables only as a non-meat alternative is a COPOUT big time.

And that’s what happened this time at our favourite dining place.

The final main course on the degustation menu this weekend was listed as a serving of Wagyu beef. However, for our experience, it was replaced with a mushroom and lentil dish.

This was quite the letdown.

In fact, it was so much of a letdown that Jayne voiced her disappointment in the dish to our waitress when she came to clear our plates from our table.

To their credit…

To their credit, the restaurant staff swung into SERVICE RECOVERY mode IMMEDIATELY.

An additional dish of delicate prawn was immediately delivered to us as a replacement dish.

And so, in true SERVICE RECOVERY mode, the disappointment of the error was quickly erased by the immediate act of service recovery.

As we have come to expect at this fine restaurant.

The lesson…

The DEEPER lesson here is to never take the customer and their expectations for granted.

In this case, the expectation of the restaurant that a low protein alternative [mushroom] would pass as an equal substitute and replacement for a choice cut of Wagyu beef was a gross over-presumption.

Mushroom replacing Wagyu beef is not a same:same substitution.

And I’m sure that the waitstaff who managed the situation were probably embarrassed by the decision [and whoever it was who made that decision] to substitute the mushroom for the beef.

In the worlds of service, and of business, many customers will change their service providers if they believe they are being taken for granted and are not being respected.

Taking customers for granted is a risk that all businesses face.

At your business, is it possible that you could be taking the patronage of some of your loyal customers for granted?

Because if you are, some of those customers will leave you…. and take their business elsewhere.


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