No matter how hard you try, you’re bound to come across a diner that just can’t be satisfied. It’s important to handle these situations with care, and remember—the customer is always right (even if they really aren’t). How you handle a situation like this will determine if your guest will return. Word of mouth is free advertising, but it’s up to you if the word that spreads is positive.
Here are some easy tips to follow that can help send diners home with a smile:
1. Listen. Even if you can’t solve the problem for them, it won’t hurt to listen. Take this opportunity to learn from your customer—maybe you can prevent the issue from happening again!
2. Be aware of your body language. Crossed arms and a stern look don’t tell your customer you’re there to help. Avoid the urge to roll your eyes and as hard as it may be to smile, try to do it anyways. This tells your customer you appreciate their business and care about their opinion.
3. Give them a freebie. If a customer has a problem that could’ve been prevented (an overcooked steak, long wait time or a cold side dish perhaps?) offer a freebie or discount the check. If you add on a freebie, you are still collecting the full amount of what was ordered and the customer will be instantly happy. Ideas of freebies that can turn that frown upside down that cost you very little: free dessert or a free round of drinks!
5. Say you’re sorry. Being apologetic can be humbling—but it can go a long way. If your customer sees that you care, and you’re trying to solve or prevent the problem, they’ll be more understanding and more likely to return.
Always know, you can’t please everyone. But sending a diner out the door knowing that you did your best will keep them coming back for more—guaranteed! Let that word of mouth spread like wildfire in a positive way!