Would You Be So Bold?

I was playing golf with one of my clients last week…

At his golf club.

And we stopped for some lunch and refreshments at half way.

As we sat down at the table a waitress showed up with twocoffees.

“One coffee to go and one skinny late”

she said.

And we said:

“No. That’s not for us.”

And she said:

“Look. I’m assuming your joking. And I’m going to leave these here and walk away now”

What the heck?

Where did this sort of ATTITUDE in a waitress come from?

Did we look like practical jokers?

Were practical jokes like this par for the course at this golf club?

So what did you do David?

So we called her back again.

And we protested thus.

And she took the coffees away.

And then the original orderers of those coffees appeared.

And we were royally pardoned.

And in fact, the waitress in question, returned to apologise to us for her slip up.

What really happened?

I’m not sure what happened there originally, but for all intents and purposes my client and I were virtually accused and “labelled” by this waitress as being troublesome and mischievous.

I’m unsure as to what her pre-conception had been, but her failure to embrace our comments as being real and truthful was certainly a point of concern.

Did we look untrustworthy?

This was no public bar or nightclub. This was a prestigious golf club on a Friday at lunchtime.

I could only wonder what exactly she had on her mind that she would even contemplate addressing two patrons [or members for that matter] in this manner?

The Customer is Always Right.

This is one of the principles of doing business.

Make sure that the customer feels that the decision they are making is indeed the correct decision, in their eyes.

However, if there does appear to be a moment of conjecture, the best approach as a staff member is to look objectively at what has just occurred and try to have a resolution that does not involve the “chopping down” of a customer.

For what it is worth, winning a battle against a customer is not something clever to do if it goes towards the losing of a war….

What happened next David?

Well, fortunately, the true owner of the coffee order did appear and the coffees were claimed, or allocated, and an apology was issued to my client and me from the waitress in question.

But it should never have ever happened, should it?

What should have happened?

What should have happened is this:

When my friend and I originally declined the coffees and stated that they were not ours, the waitress should have removed them, and gone and found out who they originally belonged to.

Instead of launching into her own game of blame.

What she did was assume that there was no error in her system and delivery.

What should have happened is this:

“Oh I’m sorry gentlemen, let me get that sorted for you”

Then there would have been no problem.

Presumed innocence.

Sadly, this waitress presumed us guilty of ordering these coffees.

My client and I were both surprised at her response about “walking away now”

What’s the lesson David?

The clear lesson here is to review all the information and make a decision based on all possibilities, rather than to presume an action and an “intent”.

Sure you can think there may be an “intent” but without true evidence, a blind accusation can lead to tears.

Years ago, as a dentist, I was delayed from seeing a patient while I was performing a difficult surgical extraction on another patient.

The delayed patient just got up and walked out of my office.

Without saying a word.

I decided to phone the patient that afternoon to follow up and find out what happened.

And here’s what he said:

“How dare you keep me waiting while you’re sitting in the back there watching the golf on TV!!”

Well I was shocked.

Sure we had the golf on the TV in the lounge out front where the patient was sitting, but down back, in the engine room, there were no TVs present, as I sweated over that broken tooth fragment.

And sure, it seems that this patient was not fully informed on why I was not seeing him on time.

But his supposition of putting two and two together to make five was way off the mark.

And so a patient was lost to the practice.

Partly from our failure to keep him updated. And partly I believe from him being embarrassed that he had jumped to a premature, incorrect conclusion.

Don’t ever take an action without all the facts.

And sometimes, taking no action is a whole lot better than taking a premature, incorrect action.


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