Macaroni vs. Pasta - Does it Matter?
It depends on how you look at it and what your unique and individual experience is. This is a post about three things:
- I ordered ‘macaroni cheese’ - of course it matters.
- How to treat customers.
- How to handle a manager who is... not a manager?
My daughter-in-law and I visited a local place to eat with a really nice menu and table settings. We have frequented it several times. On this occasion we sat down and felt really relaxed and anticipated what was on the menu. We placed our order.
I ordered ‘Macaroni Cheese’.
When our meals were brought to us I felt sick when I saw mine. (1) It was not macaroni cheese. (2) It was soaking in melted buttery looking fat! (3) It was pasta.
Macaroni is pasta you say. No it is not. Yes, it is of the pasta family. You only need Google and you will see the very small curly macaroni compared to larger different shapes of different kinds of pasta.
I went up to the Bar and told the lady that served me I did not order what they gave me. On their lunch menu board it said: “Macaroni Cheese”. On their menus on the tables it said: “Pasta” - a separate dish altogether. I asked for a refund to which the lady said: “They won't give you a refund”. No smile, no warmth, no assistance.
I walked back to our table and told my daughter-in-law. I won’t repeat what she said, you might be offended (smile). What I can say she said, was: “Ask for the manager Ma”.
A young lady waitress came in and I waved her over. Lovely young lady, very friendly, very helpful (she should swap places with the bar staff!). I relayed to her what I had already said at the Bar, and she said: “Would you like me to get the manager?” “Yes, thank you dear”.
I need to mind my P’s and Q’s and watch what I say here (smile).
The manager did not look like a manager to me, he did not dress like one, he did not have the composure or disposition that I would expect of a manager who runs and owns several businesses. Then he opened his mouth to speak, and I was convinced he couldn't be a manager!
My daughter-in-law sat there waiting to see what would ensue.
"You’re not happy with this dish?"
"No, I am not. I ordered ‘macaroni cheese’ and got pasta."
"Oh, but this is macaroni."
"No it is not. It is pasta. Your board says macaroni cheese and your menu on the table has an order for pasta, two different things. Yes, macaroni is of the pasta family, but it is called macaroni and it is different in size, shape and taste."
"If you go onto the internet you will see that this is macaroni cheese. All of our customers that come here, love this dish. They say: “Oh, what a lovely dish.” We have had no complaints."
He stood there and continued to rationalize and justify his position, "I have been in business many years...", right in front of my daughter-in-law. He is very lucky that she is not so upfront in public situations, and confrontations, or she would have chewed him up and out.
I turned to my daughter-in-law and said: “Is he seriously going to stand there and argue with me?” (I could hear her expletives spoken in silence).
I turned to the manager and said: “I do not need to go on the internet to know the difference between macaroni and pasta. I am glad all your other customers loved it but I don’t. It is soaking in melted buttery fat and it does not appeal to me at all.”
He continued to argue, to which I said:
“You can stop right there. The bottom line is: I am a customer, I am not happy, I was not given what I ordered, there is no way I am going to eat this drowned dish of pasta. I want a refund.”
Finally, he zipped it and said: "Well, I will give you a refund, but I do think if you go on the internet…"
I interrupted him and said, “I will take my refund and we will leave, thank you. By the way, a friendly tip, with respect: ‘It is not appropriate for you, a manager, to stand there and argue with a customer, period; least of all at their table in front of a family member. You never treat customers like that.’”
He left, and so did we.
I am not perfect but here is how I see it:
Managers, business owners and customer service representatives:
- I am in the transcription business because of my customers, because of my excellent team, because of my hard work and desire to succeed and to see others do the same. That manager lost two+ very good customers because he felt the need to justify his actions and blow his trumpet - which was way out of tune by the way!
- Take care of your customers, respect them, treat them right, recognize that they keep you in business - a huge part of it. Find out who they are, what they want, deliver; and if you mess up - fess up, and do the right thing. Don’t waffle on like the manager did, who felt like he was doing me a favour for giving me a refund. I made sure his thinking changed before we left.
- Always be prepared to listen, show empathy, apologize, smile, be pleasant like the helpful young waitress. Make sure your staff are warm, understanding, and helpful, and know how to smile!
- Offer a solution, “I am sorry you are not happy, I apologize you were not given the correct order. Would you like a refund, or is there something else on the menu you would prefer? We would like to help you.” Let the customer have the choice.
- Mind your p’s and q’s, and remember to use your manners even when standing your ground.
Recently I returned an item to a store, the customer service lady said, “No problem, I will handle that for you. It is good to give a refund isn’t it? Customers should have that choice.”
Success in customer service as we move into 2016!
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