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CUSTOMER SERVICE…NOT!

Businesses are always busy trying to attract more customers and new clients; creating new marketing messages and offers, and often in this pursuit of sales, the loyal customer is forgotten. Yet the loyal customer is the one who keeps returning and keeps buying.

So, if you enjoy Spot the Difference this may tickle you as you spot the ‘service’ mistakes. I hope it hits a nerve…

My Partner and I were extremely disappointed with the level of customer service received this weekend at a not inexpensive country restaurant who pride themselves on a gong awarded by a tyre company. Being loyal, regular and high spending customers, we believed that we deserved far better, albeit at a busy Sunday lunch service. We had phoned for a table on Saturday and requested to sit in the conservatory, but no particular table. This was agreed and our booking taken.

On arrival at 1.50, ten minutes prior to our anointed time we sat in the garden. Unusually, the chairs were cushion less, (one lady shed her shoes and climbed on their table to raise her parasol), another customer had collected his own cushions from the boot of his car!

Menus and wine list, together with drinks ordered from the bar as we entered, were delivered. Although the waiter did not know the flavour of the complimentary popcorn…it was curried. Ten minutes later, as our wine order was taken we mentioned that we were not sitting outside to eat and that we had reserved in the conservatory. We were informed that we had been allocated a table in the main restaurant as the conservatory only had large tables due to a number of large party bookings. Disappointed we accepted this, although disgruntled that this was not forthcoming when we had booked.

A further ten minutes passed when we were told that a table for two had cancelled in the conservatory and we could have this. We were delighted if a little confused as to how a table for two had miraculously appeared.

At 2.40 with our wine order having been taken almost three quarters of an hour earlier, the wine supposedly on the table, and by. now feeling rather hungry, our food order had still not been taken, so we went to ask about this at the bar. Whilst placing our own order, (this restaurant prides itself on its table service), we were now told that the table in the conservatory had been given to someone else without any reference to us. This is, as stated, an establishment that has many £ signs next to what you can expect to spend, to go with it’s potentially vulnerable accolade. We left immediately (well when the taxi finally arrived), disappointed, annoyed and very hungry. Unlikely to return.

Magnanimously they said they’d waive the drinks that we had had whilst waiting to place our order.

Spot the none-too-subtle errors?

To serve or not to serve or to antagonize or not to antagonize cherished long-term customers should never be questions…

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