It’s not enough to be anxious to please. One must please!
The Issue: Celebrating my bride’s birthday at an upscale seafood restaurant in Clearwater this past weekend, Sue and I enjoyed the food, but were turned off by our waiter’s annoying habit of fielding our comments and compliments with the same lame reply: “No problem.”
What I Think: Though a favorite locution of more-than a few would-be grown ups, endlessly invoking “no problem” is typically the stuff of teenagers. And to listeners it’s only impressive if you’re twelve. For adults, a simple: “you’re welcome” is much preferred.
Is this the end of the world? No, of course not! The point is, though, even minor annoyances like that inflicted by employees can turn customers off, and either cost you their patronage or put an unnecessary damper on their experience with your business.
In our case, the waiter may not have known any better, assuming he’d never been instructed to avoid what (to some) may be a mildly tedious turn of phrase, but to others, a grating annoyance. Forestalling any possible offence would have taken a staff supervisor or the restaurant manager 1) overhearing the waiter using that term, and 2) being sufficiently heads-up to make an issue of it. As I’m doing now!
Not every company is exposed to the level of customer sensitivity that can make or break a restaurant—especially those presuming to serve hors d’oeurves running to the mid two-figures, and even pricier entrees. But while we’re on the subject: another no-no for restaurants are waiters overdoing the collegial-chumminess-bit with patrons.
I made those points to make this one: It’s safe to say that almost every type of business has risk-exposures comparable to that of restaurants, so business owners of all stripes are advised to identify and preempt their risks. The question is: In what ways is your business exposed? And what will you do about it?
A final thought. Next weekend, Sue and I will be patronizing another of the many fine dining establishments in and around Tampa Bay to celebrate our 40th anniversary. Here’s hoping that this time we’ll have no problem (to coin a phrase) with the wait staff’s (mis)use of the language.
What Do You Think? Your comments are welcome. Have you registered?
Bill Willard is a freelance writer in Clearwater FL. He has been a high-impact writer and editor for over 30 years. In addition to his byline pieces, Bill’s beat includes ghostwriting and editing for businesses of all types and sizes, professional practitioners and individuals, and is a www.thefreestyleentrepreneur.com Contributing Author. Visit his Website: www.writergazette.com/WillardAssociates.shtml
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