I write about a lot of local – and distant – events in my effort to be a conduit of all things wine. I hawk events that I attend, and some that I don’t, and all that are for charity, some that are for profit.
When I attach my name to an event, inviting the Eve’s Wine 101 Facebook group, I open myself up for comment, and in a case last week, to issues. I welcome both. As the customer is who we learn from, not from our own grandiose ideas of what the customer wants. We do what we’re told, or we shouldn’t be in the service business.
So first we have to always remember that it’s about service:
“I decided that the winetasting last week would have been a fantastic opportunity to get someexercise in as well as some wine. So I rode my bike, instead of driving, the 4miles to the wine bar to have my taste. Aftermilling around for 20 minutes without anyone offering any service what so ever,I left on my bike ride back home. I was so vastly disappointed with the service this evening, mind you I didn’teven get a greeting from any of the staff, that I doubt that I will return onany basis to that particular wine bar. Which is a terrible idea, but as I stand right now,completely true. Sad, very sad.”
Please, if this happens to be your business, don’t start giving the excuses as we already know them:
1. We cut back staff due to the recession. (Not your customer’s problem, sorry.)
2. We were short staffed and busy. (See #1)
3. She could have asked for help. (See #1)
4. The people at that table have their check but they’re lingering! (See #1)
5. People come in and leave all the time, lookie loos. (Gee, isn’t that a silly gamble?)
So here it is, I have had lunch with the owner of this restaurant, the manager of that wine bar, the owner of this wine bar, the sommelier at that wine bar. I see customers come in, walk around, wait to be approached – whether they’ve been there before or not – and then spin around on their heels and leave.
I went to my new church for months before I asked to join – you know how that feels? Like I wasn’t wanted. I loved everything else about the church and chalked it up to them not wanting to be pushy. (And, by then, they knew how pushy I was …)
Oh, and by the way, I was in the service business before becoming a full time writer that happens to be passionate about wine. I know that if I smile while I talk on the phone I sound better, that if I stand up and offer you my hand in greeting you’ll take it and, that if I like what I do…it shows.
In the case of the patron above, I don’t recall how guilty I was in doing all #’s 1-5, but what I used to always say when this happened – and with all earnestness – was, “Thank you for telling me, we learn from our mistakes and I will be sharing this with my staff and boss.”
This is how she left it when she agreed to let me share her insights with readers:“It just took me back and Ifelt as if my patronage was not appreciated. Not very often do I go to a placeand feel like a fly on the wall. It’s going to take a lot of sucking it up onmy end to give that wine bar another chance to appreciate me and my money. It’s almost as if theattitude of most of these wine bistros now-a-days is that we need them andnot the other way around. Which is sad because I would have been much happieron my patio that night actually having a glass of wine in my hand then beingsurrounded by snobby people.”
The customer’s name, and that of the establishment, have been withheld in an effort to get us all to think, as we’ve all been guilty.