10 bad customer service practices (part 1)


Perhaps the most difficult of providing a service, whichever it is, is to keep all the customers in the same level of satisfaction. For a business owner, to read a bad review or negative opinion of someone is a harsh blow. We all know that is not going to be that all customers will leave our place feeling the same positive sensation, but what we must do, as business owners, is to train our staff with the mindset to decrease, the most you can, the propensity of negative comments to take place.

For instance, we strongly recommend to start by learning from these bad customer services practices shared by Micah Solomon, expert in customer service and contributor for Forbes Entrepreneurs, in his article “The 10 All-time worst customer service practices”. Today we will start checking the first five, in our next blog entry we will go deeper with the remaining five.

  • 1 Worst Practice: Failing to hire personnel with the right traits for customer-facing work. As Micah states in his article, everything starts with the staff selection process. And we agree, that this process should not be taking lightly, as the performance of this personnel will impact strongly the future of your restaurant.

 In order to have a guidance on how should the profile of the candidates which are going to be in frequent contact with customers, Solomon suggests the acronym WETCO: Warmth, Empathy, Teamwork, Conscientiousness and Optimism. If you want to go further on customer service hiring and go deeper on WETCO, check his other article “Hire your Way to a World-Class Customer Experience: The Fie Crucial Customer-Centric Employee Traits”.

In our opinion, to take into account this acronym when hiring your staff, would be a good pattern to choose a team that will, in general terms, understand and how to treat not only the customer but the other employees too. Making everything a little bit easier for you.


Image source: http://bit.ly/1mhnjV6

  • 2 Worst Practice: Presume that training in customer service is something of “one day and that’s it”: As Micah states in his article, is a common and mistaken mindset adopted by large number of business owners. Usually, staffs are given a powerful orientation process at day one (which is good), but then a couple of months pass and no reinforcement and evaluation on that training have been done. Then these powerful training starts being slowly forgotten, and the staff starts decreasing the quality of their customer service. We agree with Micah that this process should be continuous and, as all the process inside the restaurant, should be properly followed and evaluated. This will generate that your staff will operate as if this continuous training is a habit.
  • 3 Worst Practice: Failing to invest time, effort, and flexibility toward the goal of seeing things the way your customers see them: As Micah describes in this point on his article, there is only one way to truly find out how your customers feel. If you do not enter from the front door they do, if you do not call in on the phone lines they are supposed to call to reach your restaurant, if you do not navigate through your website to find the information they might be looking for, then you will not know how your customers truly feel about your restaurant. As Micah asks, do this at least once, and you will learn about your company’s problems.
  • 4 Worst Practice: Missing your quality miscues, because you think the taste of your food is all: We did a short modification of this point in the article. We wanted to focus it more on our specific industry, highlighting one common mistake: By presuming that the taste and presentation of your dishes is all that matter and not giving the right importance to other details.

To put you more in context, details like a disorganized service, long waiting times, tables that are not completely clean when customers are being sat, and the lists go on and on.

Also forgetting that the online experience is important, or what would be your impression of a restaurant that apparently serves an exquisite food, but the website is archaic and clunky and there is no online menu or pictures of the dishes? Will you still feeling to go?


Image source: http://bit.ly/1QYGD5i

  • 5 Worst Practice: Ignoring the power of language: As Micah points out, most of the service miscues you are giving off relate to language: Language needs to be gentle, kind and brand appropriate. As we all know impressions are made based 30% on what is being said, and 70% on how things are being transmitted. Occurs in the personal relations, happens also in business level.

How did you find these common 5 worst customer service practices? Have your restaurant incurred in one of them, or in many? If you want to go further on this topic do not forget to check Micah Solomon’s article on Forbes. Also in the following entries we will be talking about the remaining five worst customer service practices.