Saturday, 25 October 2008

Held to ransom

Customer care is crucial to the success of every hospitality business. It can be so difficult to get it right, but it is important to make customers feel welcome and try and be sympathetic when the service they receive doesn't match their expectations. An establishment needs to set out it's stall and define the product that is being delivered. That can be difficult to do when so many people have so many different ideas about what a pub should deliver. When the product that is being tendered is not delivered satisfactorily then dealing with customer grievances is important. Ensuring the customer understands the product can be key to that and in a pub situation can be very difficult to get across what products and service are delivered and what is not.

It seems to me that there is an increase of demands from customers for you to deliver exactly what the customer wants, another pint after your official licensing time or serving of food after the kitchen staff have cleaned up the kitchen. There seems to be an increasing attitude from customers that states, subliminally "you NEED my custom, I don't care if my demands are unreasonable, you can just do it because otherwise I'll not come here again and I'll tell all my mates not to"

Last night, after we had served some nice customers with food, we were all sat in the bar chatting and having a nice pint. (I was drinking Keswick's Thirst Chestnut). The kitchen was clean and the kitchen staff had clocked off. Due to our location we expected we might not get any more customers so we settled in to make the few we had nice and comfortable. It's one of the nice things about our job, talking with nice people about so many different things.

A car turned into the Car park, it seemed to be a very new, nice black shiny Discovery. Ann went behind the bar to be ready for the new addition to our friendly little group. These people turned out to be rather unsavoury kind of folk. I can be a little snobby sometimes, normally with lager drinkers, or people who can't understand why we don't do scampi. On this occasion I think these customers beat me hands down.

Marching to the bar they told us they wanted a bottle of wine and some cheese, in quite a demanding fashion. We told them that the kitchen was closed, but they could have a bottle of wine if they liked. They told us they had been to us before and not found it good but had heard that we had improved. We certainly do believe we have improved, but it seemed to be that if we did not provide the cheese they would not stay to find out.

Now we do a rather nice cheese board, all local Cumbrian cheeses. We might even have been tempted to serve them if they had approached the subject correctly. However, I'm quite convinced that their attitude may just have spoiled the evening and I'm sure we were right to restate that we had stopped serving food and that we would be happy to sell them a bottle of wine.

But all present had a good laugh at their snobby, demanding rudeness. We continued to drink beer. Ann though did insist on drinking Kreik - beer oughtn't to taste of cherries!!


Jeff Pickthall said...

Bloody heathens - don't they realise it's beer-and-cheese.

Wine and cheese just don't work.

The Woolpack Inn said...

I think you're most unfair to be reminding me of that fantastic combination when I still have a whole day of work ahead of me before I can indulge.

A fantastic combination indeed!!