criticAs a business owner I have learned that both good and bad experiences can be learning experiences for all entrepreneurs, from the local car wash to the restaurant you had dinner in last night.  Are you paying attention to the details around you?  In this article I am going share with you exactly what I am talking about.

We decided last night to go out to dinner for a date night, we typically head into Rock Hill for a sit down dinner, however we opted to take a drive into Charlotte instead.  We stumbled upon what appeared to be a local steak house and thought that sounded good.  Upon entering the restaurant we found to our surprise it was not a steak house however an Italian dinner restaurant.  So let’s jump into the lessons learned and see what you get from it too.

The name of the establishment “The Grid Iron” implies a steak house, rustic and down to earth.  The food served, Italian.  Some confusion lies in this marketing.  How does your marketing reflect what you do?  Have you given yourself a cutesy business name that does not say what you do?  Or perhaps you have reinvented what you do and kept the name causing confusion for your potential clients/customers.  The key is to create clarity in your name and what you offer so you draw and maintain the ideals clients/customers.

The number one element that defines a good or so-so business and one that is great is customer service.  When we walked in the hostess was off watching TV and was almost startled we came in, the server took over ten minutes to greet the table and even longer to get the drinks.  Then never delivered the garlic bread or refilled the drinks.  In order to get referrals and repeat business you must pay attention to your clients/customers.  Each one is important and needs attention from you or your team.  Keep in mind a dissatisfied client/customer will tell more people than a satisfied one will.  Make people want to come back and want to share how amazing you are, be the go-to-person for your type of business.

Quality-quality-quality!  We ordered an appetizer and it looked like a mama bird pre-chewed it and they baked it, tasted just as bad as it sounds.  The entree was missing ingredients that were mentioned on the menu and swimming in butter not lightly tossed as the menu suggested.  Let’s just say if Chef Robert Irvine or Chef Gordon Ramsey walked in they would have spit out the food and began the make-over.  The lesson here is what are you giving or selling to your clients/customers?  Is it whatever you toss against the wall and it sticks or do you really work at delivering amazing products, content or service.  Make what you do exceptional and of value to those buying it from you, ask yourself would I spend my hard earned money on this?  If the answer is no, then why expect someone else to buy it.  Just saying!

Response verses reacting:  when we notified the manager that the meal was really bad and missing key components, she basically responded oh well, “I have managed restaurants for 35 years I know what I am doing, if you want to start a scandal then go ahead and start one!”  Then hung up on us.  Really!  Lesson here is things will go wrong, people will be unhappy and they just might complain, so how do you respond or do you react?  Huge area here, we need to respond to the client/customer and do what we can to make them happy.  Understand you cannot please everyone, all the time, however make an effort to listen to what they say, respond respectfully and thank them for letting you know.  Then take a look at your business, your attitude, your staff or even what you offer is there room to improve?  Are there things you need to change?  Consider the feedback as free coaching, do not get defensive, receive and apply where needed.

These are simple lessons learned from a bad experience, things to open my eyes on my own business.  How about yours, make you think a little?  Use these type of experiences as a learning tool, a coaching moment to grow yourself and your business to the next level.

Share below what kind of lessons you have learned.