Monday, November 12, 2007

Saying No!

Lindsay Polson at has a great post “How many times a week do you Say NO to a customer?

“The owner now came to the table, obviously a little miffed that a mere customer would have the temerity to willfully challenge their restaurant policy. Sir, is their a problem? he asked. No I responded, purposely allowing him to take the conversation to what ever next level he wished. My waiter says you want a salad with your main course sir. Yes? I responded. well sir, I’m afraid we can’t do that, it’s not our policy to change our servings from those described on our menu”

It seems unfathomable in this day of citizen marketers that any restaurateur would evoke that old discredited philosophy of not changing the menu policy, yet here is Lindsay’ example. In a long ago era some restaurants had the cache that they could do as they liked and you could leave if you did not like. Those days are forever gone. Today the customer not only has the expectation that the restaurant will be flexible, but also has the tools to punish the restaurant for refusing to be flexible.

There are times when a restaurant has to say no to a request. Those situations should be few and very far between. It is rarely a springboard to creating customer advocacy by Saying No!