You Screwed up! Now What?

Photo by David Becker

Nobody’s Perfect – Keep Trying

Nobody’s perfect. Try as I might, I can’t seem to convince the people in my life that I am the exception to this rule. Probably I’m not (but maybe it’s them). Seriously, I try hard to be a good person and sometimes I fall short. In these cases, I do my best to fix my mistakes.

A zero-defect goal at your bar is an admirable and probably necessary method to deliver the level of service excellence expected by your patrons and required to assure the long term success of your establishment. Even infrequent failures can lead to the erosion of a customer base and have a profound effect on the level of your success, and even your ultimate survival. And yet, sometimes you will fail to deliver. You should have a plan in place to recover service in those cases where you fall short.

A Case for Service Recovery

The Nature of Our Business

Mistakes are inevitable. The nature of the bar business makes them more likely and more frequent than in most other industries. Your patrons are in closer proximity and can almost infinitely customize their orders. Production takes place in front of the customer and is virtually instantaneous. Demand is difficult to predict and therefore manage. To top it off, the success of any service-related encounter is determined by the guest, sometimes making even your best efforts ineffectual. Mistakes are inevitable.

The Cost of Failure

Mistakes are expensive. Refunds and comps are just the beginning. Lost customers and the erosion of your reputation are much worse. Research indicates that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Conventional wisdom indicates that dissatisfied customers relate their negative service experiences with twice as many people as those who have had a positive experience. Arguably, your current customer base and your reputation are your most valuable assets. Mistakes are expensive.

The Benefits of Recovering

Recovering is profitable. Turning a service failure into a success is always worth the effort. Customers who have experienced one of these service “flips” become more loyal as the result of the experience. They also become enthusiastic advocates for your brand, likely to be even more satisfied than they were before the failure and more likely to spread positive word of mouth. The result is an even more loyal customer base and enhanced reputation. Recovering is profitable.

A Plan for Service Recovery

In this dynamic and informative 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show breakout session, Professor Brian Warrener of Johnson & Wales University will discuss the inevitability of customer service failures, the costs associated with these failures, and the many benefits of fixing them. Participants will be introduced to the best service recovery practices of the best organizations and take away a service recovery training program that can be simply and immediately implemented in their own operations.

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