It is an uncomfortable fact, but there are people who delight in being dissatisfied; or rather, they delight in complaining. How should you interact with guests who cannot be pleased? Here are three tips that work to prevent negative patrons from creating compromising situations.
Make the Call
Train your staff to identify key characteristics of potential problem patrons. Did the patrons start complaining almost before they were seated? Have they made unreasonable requests? Have they treated staff members rudely? If any of these red flags arise, the management team should be made aware immediately, so they can monitor the situation. Prevention is more cost-effective than reparation.
Don’t say sorry
Management and staff should not automatically jump to an apology when they are faced with a complaint. Rather, they should identify whether the situation warrants a complaint or if the patron is being difficult. People easily default into apologizing when faced with conflict. If an apology is merited, you and your staff should make sincere apologies; however, admitting to unfounded guilt is a slippery slope.
Play as a Team
If management sets a precedent of always siding with the customer, no matter the complaint, the rest of the staff will falter under the anxiety of every complaint. Defensive servers and staff minimize complaints laid against them, which exasperates customers. The potential for this type of exchange is minimized when employees know that each complaint will be fairly scrutinized. Further, employees who feel supported are much more likely to accept responsibility for errors when they know that doing so will lead to proportionate, and not drastic, results.
Implement these tips into your management style and reap the results. Proactive measure are more effective than reactive concessions.
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