Over the last few weeks, I’ve somehow become addicted to the videos on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares Facebook page. (Please don’t judge me. I feel greasy enough about this whole thing already.)
One of the videos, though, reinforced a couple of business / marketing truths we’ve covered before in this blog.
A restaurant owner featured on the show refused to believe that all of her customers didn’t love her food, despite the feedback Gordon was giving her.
The cameras caught waitresses throwing away almost entire plates of food that customers sent back for various reasons. Yet even when confronted with that evidence, the owner vehemently denied there was a problem.
The wait staff didn’t tell the owner about the returned food for one or both of these reasons:
1) They didn't see it as a problem that customers left a lot of food on their plates.
2) They were afraid to alert the owner because she would respond angrily.
Reason 1: The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded all of us how valuable each customer is. Companies that encourage their employees to be proactive problem solvers are more likely to stay nimble, focused on improvement and committed to delivering positive experiences. So, set the expectation that each employee’s duty is to actively look for and acknowledge signs of trouble, whether your customers are leaving food on their plates, complaining online about your service or communicating their dissatisfaction at any other touchpoint.
Reason 2: As I advised in our post “Are You Prepared for Failure?” always “encourage your employees to manage up. If they know of a problem anywhere in your organization - especially if it affects the customer experience - they should feel free to tell their supervisor. Develop a culture or a process that makes managing up easy and non-threatening. The information you get from the front lines will be invaluable.”
As much as possible, take advantage of any pandemic-related downtime to better position your company for success following the return to our normal business environment.