“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

This quote by Bill Gates describes the customer service industry so well. Working in customer service, whether it be retail, or food service, you encounter so many different kinds of people, some nice, but most of the time unhappy, angry, unpleasant people. Working with the public is a challenging task and it takes a special kind of personality to handle it.

When I walk up to a table and Say “Hi there, how are you doing today?”, cutting me off and replying with “Diet Coke, and I’m waiting on two others” is not an appropriate response. I have found that my best tactic is to “kill them with kindness”. When I encounter a table full of unhappy customers, I smile nice and big, use my manners, and make sure they have everything the need to enjoy a nice meal with their company. That is about all I can do. I know I did my best to make their experience a great one.

I have found that in my time as a restaurant worker there are many customers that simply cannot be pleased. Everything in their meal was wrong (even if it IS exactly how they ordered it), its burned, its not cooked enough, too salty, not enough sauce, ice cold, and the list goes on. Most of the time the staff can figure out that this person just wants free food but, here is a lesson for you if you are one of these types of people.

We will not discount your food so you are a “satisfied” customer and you will now return back to this establishment because the situation was “fixed”. Truth is we do not want you to come back.

Now, obviously if their is just something wrong with a single dish, we know you’re not trying to get a free meal and we want you to leave a happy customer and return, so please don’t think I’m talking to you.

I have heard it at least once every shift I have worked since as long as I can remember “Everyone should be required to work in customer service at least once in their life!” Usually I hear this during the lunch or dinner rush at work. If this were to actually happen I think the world would be a much better place! Working with people is hard, but it is also the exact reason why I love my job so much.

 So to all of my customer service friends out there: Put on a genuine smile, be kind, and actually care about the service you are giving and I promise you will be able to turn some of those grumpy people into very happy satisfied customers who continue to return back simply because they liked YOU so much because you made their experience so fabulous!

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A Family Affair

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Having your coworkers become a sort of second family is such a fun and great thing! Who knew you could meet so many people of different walks of life, some you have barley have anything in common with, and others who seem to be your soul mates. If it weren’t for my coworkers I would have probably found a new job a long time ago. When you get excited to go to work because you finally work with someone you haven’t seen in a while is such a happy feeling! Honestly, I don’t think this is something that you find in many workplaces, and I know for a fact no other restaurant is as close as this one right here.

How many times have you heard a friend or family member talk about how much they don’t like their job? Or they just wish they could quit, or something along those lines. NOW have you ever heard them say how much they don’t want to quit or they love their job simply because of their coworkers? Even after some employees move on to bigger and better things, or just move away, we always have stayed in contact. We still make an effort to include and invite everyone when we go out for bowling nights, or just decide to hang out at someones house.

We do this thing called “Family Diner”. Our grill cook Jacko makes the main course, and everyone brings some sort of side, drinks, or dessert. We tried to plan one of these once a month to just get together and spend some quality time and just have fun with everyone and obviously discuss the trials of work life.

I can only hope everyone can experience this kind of second family in their workplace at least sometime in their life. I am truly grateful for these friends of mine, not to mention my regulars, whom I would also consider a sort of family.

SIZE Matters

Food for thought.

When you go out to eat how much do you leave for gratuity? Do you double the tax? Do you base it on how well you were served? Is it just the mood you happen to be in that day? Or do you always leave at least 15-20%?

Working in customer service in general is rough. My personal experience is as a server at a “small BJ’s” type restaurant in a wealthier community. I’ve gotten one tip in my experience where I was truly blown away, but on the other hand I revive quite terrible tips on the daily. Today actually I had a customer leave $1.00, did it surprise me? Nope. In this industry we categorize customers or stereotype, whichever you prefer.

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In my personal opinion, I’d say this is pretty accurate. One of my previous co-workers also wrote a blog post about tipping (which inspired mine!) Here is a link to her post.

Here’s some things to keep in mind next time you go out to eat.

  • If you had to wait forever for your food, its not the servers fault.
  • if your food was wrong, it is not necessarily your servers fault.
  • You are not the only customer in the restaurant, so don’t act like you are getting terrible service because it took a few minutes for your server to refill your Coke.
  • Doubling the tax is NOT a good tip.
  • PLEASE DO NOT  have the mind set that a tip is an “option”. Here in American it is just what you do when you go out to a sit down restaurant. This isn’t Europe so don’t pull that “I don’t have to tip” line.
  • We don’t always make as much as you think. We have to tip out: bussers, bartenders, and the hosts. AND a certain percentage of our credit card tips ARE taken out of our paychecks.
  • DO NOT LEAVE A VERBAL TIP. AKA: Please don’t just say everything was great, and that I gave excellent service and then live me $4.00 on $80.00, not cool.

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When customers leave comments on my receipts, it usually makes my day! I love working in an industry where I meet so many kinds of people. And don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be more grateful that customers leave me anything! BUT it is an even better feeling to be recognized for working so hard. So if you were given excellent service at dinner tonight, let them know. Leave them a nice little comment, and an even nicer tip.

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