How to Deal With Irate Customers..
Can’t We All Just Get Along? What to remember when dealing with irate customers...
You know how it happens. Your server comes into your office and says, “Um… boss, about that guy at table three…” and there you are, having to deal with an irate customer. You ask your server for more details, and as you head out to the floor you repeat the mantra: “The customer is always right, the customer is always right, the customer is a jerk – no, the customer is always right.”
Okay, the customer is not always right, and sometimes the customer is a jerk, but the customer is always someone you are going to have to deal with. And you’re going to have to do it genuinely, and in such a way that you can repair the broken relationship.
See, here’s the thing: If a customer dispute isn’t resolved, you’re going to lose revenue. But if you resolve the dispute, chances are they will come back.
In the restaurant business, complaints are inevitable. They might have to do with the service, or the food, or they might just be because the customer is having a bad day. Either way, you have to deal with them, so here’s how to do it.
When we say listen, we mean that you shouldn’t talk. Wait and hear what the customer has to say. Let the customer finish, and don’t be defensive. And don’t take it personally.
Even if the customer is indisputably wrong, remember that customers are what make you money. You have to be respectful, even in the face of the most irate and unreasonable customer.
Use Good Body Language
You might congratulate yourself if you want to say, “You know what? I don’t have enough middle fingers!” and you don’t do it. But your body language could still be saying just that. So, don’t lean forward, don’t roll your eyes, and don’t cross your arms. These are all aggressive postures, and you don’t want to do that.
Find Out What it Takes
A lot of the time, a customer will be unhappy and vent all over the place, but not really have a solution. They want you to provide one. That’s where you say, “I understand that you are upset. What can I do to make this right for you?” And unless the answer is completely outside the bounds of anything reasonable, do it.
The Customer is Always Right
Keep this in mind. The customer is always right. Even if he is a jerk. Think about it. What does it cost you to be wrong? A comped meal, worst case scenario. What does it cost you to be right? A lost customer, bad word of mouth and no repeat business.
You know what you have to do.