Is Your Attitude Getting in Your Way?

It has been a heck of a year! COVID-19, the Stay at Home Order, the pandemic in general, and then this brutal cold snap!  People lost their job and their livelihood. Some continued to work under these very difficult, stressful, and even scary times. Many have gotten sick and some have died.

Things are starting to open up.  People have varying opinions. Business owners are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. 

When we become stressed we snap at people, have less ability to control our facial expressions and body language. Our patience is tried and we are tested to the max.

I remember a few years ago. My husband and I were at a restaurant. It wasn’t a particularly busy night as far as customers go, but they ended up short-staffed.  We immediately let our server know that we were not in a rush and to take her time. We understood.

However, in the end, that might have been the wrong move.  The more patient we were it seemed that she became more stressed.  We didn’t complain when it took 20 minutes to come back to take our drink order, or another 20 minutes to bring the drinks (with ice melted) and take our food order.  We sipped and talked and an hour later our food was delivered, but almost thrown on the table and lukewarm at best. She continued to get more and more agitated but attempted to smile and be congenial to customers around us. It was as if she knew we would be understanding.

At the end of our meal, we tipped her 30% and left a note simply saying we hope the evening gets better. Why?  Because someone had to take control of our customer experience and it was clear it wasn’t going to be her.

There have been times in similar situations where I have simply walked out.  Why didn’t I this time?  Because as a regular, I know that isn’t the norm and she was right in thinking I would be forgiving.

Sometimes we as business owners or employees forget that familiarity with a customer doesn’t mean we skimp on the experience. Our attitude has a direct impact on them. All businesses need “raving fans”.  When our day is hell, everything has gone wrong, we don’t feel well or any number of other factors, our customers FEEL even what isn’t spoken. Their experience is every bit as important as the experience of a new patron.

And the next time they have a choice to come into your business they will remember the tone of voice, the body language, the way they felt in the interactions. They will make a choice.  Will our attitude or that of our employees impact that choice? Absolutely.

So the next time we are faced with a “regular” and challenges, remember it is our responsibility to ensure their customer experience, not just theirs. Can you afford to lose your most loyal and “regular” customers?  I think the pandemic proved taking care of them means they will take care of us.