Are You Leaving Opportunity on the Table?

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Recently had lunch with a client — we agreed to meet at restaurant near their office at noon.

I arrived 15 minutes early due to favourable traffic conditions — so I checked for a reservation (there was none) and asked to be seated.

About 12:10 I was a bit concerned. My client is very punctual, so my first thought was not that they were running late — but had they arrived and we had missed each other.

A quick tour of the restaurant proved me right. She was sitting at another area of the restaurant wondering the same thing. I am also habitually punctual and always call when delayed.

By the time we connected and were re-seated it was now after 12:15. Both had afternoon commitments.

The Manager came by to apologize and when the bill came, the entire lunch was complementary due to the aggravation and inconvenience.

So how did the restaurant do? Did they put the customer first? Did they create a “Woo Hoo” experience?

My Perspective: As you might guess, I feel they missed some opportunities.

Obviously there were some issues at the front desk that need to be addressed, but that is not what I want to talk about. I’d like to think about the end result — a free lunch. I should mention it was a simple meal with no alcohol, so the cost was not significant — approx $30.00.

I think the Manager gave too much away. Rather than giving us a free lunch, a significant discount would have been fine. That would have shown they appreciated the situation they had created yet they could still have made some revenue. But even that point is debatable.

The real loss was not providing us with an incentive to return and experience the type of service they were capable to providing.

They should have given us each a coupon/certificate of some kind for a discount or free appetizer with a comment something like this;

“I apologize that today we failed in our promise of an exceptional experience. In addition to the discount to address our failure today, I would like to give you each a coupon to entice you to come back again and give us the opportunity to demonstrate the exceptional service we are known for.”

With the discount we were very pleased, but had no compelling reason to return. They fixed our current problem — but weren’t thinking about the future.

With the coupon, the restaurant had now created a reason to choose their restaurant above another. They had made a commitment to do better and had created some positive pressure to get us to return to see if they were up to the challenge.

So when you are dealing with a recovery — are you just looking to correct the current situation? Or do you have an intentional plan to create a positive reason for the customer to return to your location and give you another opportunity to demonstrate that you deserve their business.

Make sure you don’t leave any lost opportunity on the table.

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