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Priority stamp“Make a customer, not a sale.” Katherine Barchetti

The good old Aussie assumption ‘She’ll be right mate’ certainly doesn’t apply to client service. And if you think that your long term, loyal client will ‘be right’, you’re wrong!

For example, a client of mine was sharing a story with me where they had a regular booking at a restaurant each month and invited 20 or so people along to the event. Many were new to the restaurant and others who had experienced it before loved it so much they returned.

A phone call was received where the restaurant received a bigger booking, a deposit had been paid and the room ‘double booked’. The restaurant then phoned my client and explained the room had been double booked as the person taking the booking thought the booking was for 6 people, not 20. Could they move their function downstairs to the courtyard? Sounds reasonable. However, the room was booked for a purpose, had been booked for three years by my client for the same purpose and the biggest problem was it’s the middle of winter, an evening event so the courtyard would be freezing.

The attitude was clearly “She’ll be right mate.”

Wrong assumption.

What would you have done? Prioritised the long-term loyal client or the new bigger booking?

The obvious solution was for the restaurant to contact the party who had double booked, explain the error and work to a solution. Mistakes happen right? However, they clearly saw the opportunity for an increase in revenue from a larger group and decided to inconvenience the long-term client thinking they’d understand and not see through the strategy.

The point:

  • The story has been shared with me and I now have a certain perception of that business. Luckily I’m not into ‘name and shame’ or you would know about it too!
  • The business will be moved elsewhere.
  • The restaurant has lost its investment free marketing strategy. 200 new potential clients will no longer be invited to the restaurant each month to experience the food and atmosphere and take their friends and family back. Could you get a better marketing strategy than that…and for free?
  • They saw a sale and not the client.

Look after your clients. Your clients are your cash flow and they are your referral source. They can also impact your online reputation; social media is your enemy in this situation and bad news spreads like wild fire. Don’t do anything to your client that requires a firefighter to extinguish a wild fire. Look after them as if you were still trying to win their business. Because the truth is – you are.


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