Customer Experience Matters

Customer Experience Matters! Let me say it louder… EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER’S EXPERIENCE MATTERS! If a Customer feels good when they have done business with you, they’ll return. If they don’t, they won’t. It’s as simple as this… or is it?

The neighbourhood I live in has over the recent years undergone quite a transformation. Where once it was dangerous and unsafe, now, with the necessary caution, one can even walk around in the evening.  Over time we have noticed quite a few restaurants opening… and sadly, closing after a few ‘empty chair’ months.

This true story is about a themed restaurant that opened a good two or three years ago. We watched with interest and at one stage it seemed as though it was going to follow the same sad route as the many others. After a while, we decided to support it – the ambience wasn’t great as there weren’t many other diners, service was rather slow, but the food was decent and the owner made a point of engaging authentically with every table, including ours. We felt really good when we left.

We drive by the place on our way home so always had an eye on it. We were happy to notice building extensions to turn an unappealing ‘open to the elements’ street patio into a cosy, enclosed space. Blackboards with specials were positioned for passers-by to notice. There was innovation, including a very reasonably priced winter Sunday buffet. All of this attracted footfall and we were happy to notice more and more Customers frequenting it.

Fast forward to last night when we decided it was time for a midweek treat. It was about ¾ full. The ambience was great, the lighting beautiful, and the music was perfect in choice and volume. We were late-ish arrivals and most Customers seemed to be finishing off their main meals. The service was decent and the food was enjoyable. What was different? The owner, still hands on and involved in his livelihood, was noticed sitting at a big table chatting. He walked through the restaurant a few times, seemingly to check up on the kitchen. We were completely ignored. It was as though he was oblivious to our presence. Even on departure, when we passed quite close to where he was sitting, there was no acknowledgement or any show of appreciation from him for our business.

The funny thing is the intensity of the bitter taste of being completely ignored by the owner. Did we feel good about doing business with him… NO. Would we return? Not particularly. Why has he stopped treating every Customer setting foot through his doors as someone special? I wonder if this owner’s arrogance/ignorance isn’t going to end up costing him his business.

Never forget that EVERY SINGLE CUSTOMER’S EXPERIENCE MATTERS! Make Customers feel good about doing business with you (especially if you are inside the store/restaurant and you are a manager or an owner). Not only will they come back for more, but they are guaranteed to tell others. It’s simple!

2 replies
  1. Thando Mantsha
    Thando Mantsha says:

    I believe that what caused the bitter taste was that you went in with the expectation of being acknowledged by the owner and when that expectation was not met, it resulted in a feeling of discontent. I would go as far as to say that had he previously never acknowledged customers, you would not have felt poorly treated.

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