We all know what bad customer service looks and feels like. We hate the customer service rep that is just going through the motions without any sincere care for the customer. We try to avoid the employee with an attitude (a bad one) that doesn’t understand that his or her job is to help ensure the customer wants to come back the next time he or she needs whatever it is the company sells. We all have stories of why we won’t go back to a place of business.
But what happens when a person has a good attitude, but just can’t deliver the service we want and expect?
Just the other day I was having lunch at a local restaurant. The server was very pleasant. She warmly greeted us and smiled as she took our order. She even joked with us. I ordered a salad with grilled chicken and a vinaigrette dressing. My friend ordered a similar salad. When she brought the salads, mine had a creamy blue cheese dressing. My friend’s salad was a small side salad, not a regular size. We pointed this out to the server, and she wasn’t sure how to react. She just said, “Sorry, I don’t know how that happened,” and took the salads away.
Both of our meals came out the wrong way, but our server still had an engaging smile and friendly personality. She eventually brought out a second round of salads. Mine was correct, but my buddy’s was a completely different salad than what he had ordered. She said, once again, “Sorry, I don’t know how that happened.”
In the end, I wouldn’t call it bad service. I’d call it incompetent service. And there is a difference.
Now, some of you might blame the kitchen staff for sending out the wrong food. Yes, we can assign some of the blame to them, but, the biggest assignment of blame goes to our server. Nice as she was, she didn’t check to see that the order was correct when it came out. She should have noticed before she placed the food in front of us.
This is a classic case of incompetent service, which some might say is the same thing as bad service, but again I think there is a difference.
Bad service doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t get what you want. It can be that the attitude of the person serving you might not meet your expectations. Using the salad story, if the salads came out right, yet the server had a bad attitude, no matter how good the food was and how flawless she was in her technical serving abilities, her attitude would ruin the experience.
Incompetent service is about mistakes. The attitude can be great, but the execution doesn’t meet expectations. The good news is that a good attitude can help overcome mistakes, unless the mistakes keep piling up.
Either way, bad service or incompetent service is not acceptable. It erodes confidence and could cause a customer to not want to come back. The remedy: A great attitude and flawless execution. Isn’t that what every customer wants?
Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright © MMXVI, Shep Hyken)