by Dan Beaulieu
Learn to say yes!
The old adage goes that rule one is that the customer is always right; rule two, the customer is always right and rule three, when in doubt refer to rules one and two. Then why is it that so many companies these days do not follow these rules.
There is a chain of sandwich shops in Milwaukee where I used to live that have pickles, not only do they not have pickles, they don’t have pickles with extreme prejudice and look at you, the customer, like you are the weird one, because, well after all who ever heard of a Deli having pickles?
Then there is “In N Out Burgers.” They are loved, nay adored, by customers out west where they are mostly. They pride themselves on only having what they have and not bothering to have anything else. When we were in Tucson, Arizona, a while back, my wife innocently asked for mayonnaise to go with the tomato and lettuce on her hamburger (what, growing up in Auburn, we used to call a North Burger). The person taking our order proudly told us that In N Out burger does not have mayonnaise! Not only was she telling us she could not give us, the customers, what we wanted, she was proud of it; acting like we were the idiots for asking for such something so esoteric as mayonnaise on a burger. By the way this is the same chain that prides itself on having a “secret menu” …please!
The important lesson here is to give customers what they want, when they want it and how they want it, and you will create a loyal customer base, whether we’re talking about restaurants or any other kind of business, for that matter.
Every customer wants to feel special. Every customer wants to know that you care for her and for her business. The rule is simple, give customers what they want, and they will keep coming back.
Avoid saying “No,” as in: NO substitutions! NO sharing entrees! NO doggie bags! NO reservations! And NO one seated until the entire party is here! You know what? All of these could be easy yeses, and the customer would be happy. And your business would thrive
Try saying “yes” as much as possible. I was in a nice restaurant in Chicago a few years ago just finishing a very nice dinner with a group of business associates and when it came for dessert, I asked for a dish of chocolate ice cream. The woman waiting on us made a sad face and said she was sorry, but they had run out of chocolate ice cream that evening. She asked if there was anything else, I’d like instead and I said, “No, I’ll just have a coffee.” A little while later when she brought desserts and coffees to the rest of my party, she put a dish of chocolate ice cream in front of me with a big smile on her face. When I asked if they had found some, in the freezer somewhere, she said, no but there is a grocery store two doors down and we sent a busboy to get some for you. Now how about that for saying “Yes,” and by the way, for growing your business!
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