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His Wife Ate a FishHook at a Michelin-Guide Rated Restaurant!

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His Wife Ate a FishHook at a Michelin-Guide Rated Restaurant

What Happened Next is a Great Lesson For Businesses!

(Photo Credit: Tawk.to)

Recently, Robert D’Assisi, a founder and CEO of a major online customer service platform, were enjoying a meal at a Michelin guide rated restaurant in Latvia.

Mid-way through his meal, his wife found a fish hook in her mouth, after chewing on a piece of octopus. Fortunately she caught it before it went down her throat.  Just imagine what would have occurred if she had swallowed?

As a seasoned entrepreneur and restaurant owner himself, D’Assisi understood that accidents can happen, but it was the restaurant’s response that left him gob-smacked.

When he quietly and calmly brought the issue to the staff’s attention, the waiter’s dismissive reply was: 

“What would you like me to do? I’m not the fisherman!” 

This defensive and unprofessional reaction, also witnessed by D’Assisi’s young children, was a textbook example of how not to handle customer service when a difficulty occurs.

In business, mistakes happen. It’s not a matter of if, but when. No matter how well-trained your staff or how meticulously you plan, there will always be the occasional hiccup. 

However, the true test of a company’s mettle lies in how it responds to these situations.

As D’Assisi stated in a LinkedIn comment, “It’s not about the mistake that happened, what really creates an angry customer or a loyal forever customer, is how you recover those mistakes.” 

The restaurant’s failure to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and make amends was a missed opportunity to turn a potential crisis into a testament of exceptional customer service.

The team at this restaurant had the opportunity to make things right, and defuse the situation as much as possible; but instead they chose to go on the defensive, ultimately, leaving a terrible taste in this family’s mouths that went far beyond a rusty old fish hook, so they got up and left the restaurant mid-meal.

How did it end?

Fortunately quite well, considering.  The CEO wrote them a letter outlining what had occurred with a list of recommendations to ensure this doesn’t occur in the future; to which they have since replied.  The restaurant held an executive meeting and asked to meet with the CEO as soon as possible.

So….If you have a “fish hook” moment in your business – how can you have prepared your company to respond in the best way possible?  Well, here’s some general and specific tips on good customer service in 2024, which might help!

The Importance of Excellent Customer Service in Today’s Business World.

As the founder and CEO of Tawk.to, one of the world’s most widely used customer service applications, D’Assisi knows a thing or two about excellent customer service. 

D’Assisi is also a restaurant owner himself, with his establishment Tesoro Gastronomia donating 100% of its proceeds to support local charities.

The key, according to D’Assisi, is in how you train your team to react to situations like these. 

Take the time to review your response principles and procedures, hold your suppliers and team members accountable, and provide training and incentives for proper management and prevention of bad customer experiences. Your team needs not only to learn how to react in a crisis, but also to put preventative measures in place to avoid such incidents altogether.

Customer Service

7 Critical Customer Service Steps to For Your Business to Aim For:

1. Have multiple customer service channels.

Gone are the days when customers were expected to only call for support via phone. Modern businesses must offer various channels such as email, contact forms (that are promptly answered), live chat (staffed by a person or AI), SMS, social media messages, Google My Business messages, and online review responses. 

Tawk.to, a free ticketing and live chat system with 8 million clients globally, is an excellent example of a great customer service solution for ticketing and live chat – you can even hire real-live 24/7 Live Agents to answer Live Chat from as low as a crazy USD$1 per hour!

2. Set maximum response time metrics.

In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect quick responses. If they are calling with a complaint, their anger will only escalate the longer they wait! Establish clear response time goals for your team to ensure timely support.

3. Set up automated (initial) responses to inbound queries.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can be incredibly helpful in this regard. While setting up a CRM may take some effort initially, it can save your staff valuable time and significantly improve your company’s responsiveness. 

GoHighLevel is one of the most comprehensive and fastest-growing CRMs, offering excellent automation features.  For instance, when someone submits a contact form on your website, it will send an email (including a series of automated emails over time if you want), an SMS, and after a few minutes an automated voicemail drop – amongst a myriad of other features.

4. Respond promptly to online reviews, even (or especially) negative ones.

Address negative reviews politely and position your brand appropriately. Avoid being angry or defensive in your replies, as this can further damage your reputation.

5. Have a regular schedule of staff training.

Consistent training can help prevent incidents like the one D’Assisi experienced at the restaurant. Invest in your team’s development to ensure they are equipped to handle various customer service scenarios. 

6. Model the behaviour you want from your team.

As a leader, it’s important to set the right example for your staff. Demonstrate the customer service standards you expect from your team through your own actions and interactions.

7. Don’t let intra-team “venting” get out of control.

With the prevalence of intra-company chat systems like Teams and Slack, it can be easy for customer service teams to vent about difficult customers. 

While it may be acceptable for your team to let off a bit of steam in a “safe” environment, be cautious of the risks. If left unchecked, it can quickly lead to an entrenched culture of negativity and complaining.

Transform Negative Situations Into Opportunities With Exceptional Customer Service

As D’Assisi points out, in business, the fish rots from the head. Everything is the leadership’s responsibility, at all times. How we plan for and respond to difficulties matters because sooner or later, every business will face its own “fish-hook moment.” 

Through upholding excellent customer service and learning from the experiences of others, businesses can be better prepared to handle even the most challenging situations with grace and professionalism.

If you’re looking for an accounting partner committed to providing world-class service, contact our Gold Coast based KeyPoint Accountants at 07-5585-0600 or info@keypointaccountants.com.au. Our innovative team provides expert accounting and strategic advisory to drive your business’s growth.

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Peter Cutforth

About Keypoint Accountants: Innovative Gold Coast Accounting for Your Business

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