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"That seems to happen alot..."

August 1, 2011

Chocolate Milkshake making a messIf you are the leader – of your own company, of a department or of a virtual team – and you hear that phrase, there should be warning bells going off everywhere for you. (unless of course the “that” is what you want to have happening)

Here’s the situation that is prompting this post. I was at a Red Robin Restaurant, and I ordered a burger and one of their extra thick chocolate milk shakes. The waiter brings me the milkshake in one of those old-fashioned soda fountain glasses along with the “extra” that is still in the metal mixing cup. After a time, I go to refill my glass, and what happens?  The “extra” that is in the metal cup comes out in one big clump, overflows the sides of my glass and makes a mess all over the table (and just missed my iPhone).

So I call the waiter over and ask him for a towel to wipe up the mess. As he brings it to me, he says, “Sorry about that; it seems to happen a lot.”  Now, I know this guy is making minimum wage, but don’t you think that might be a indicator to him that something is wrong? Does the manager ever check in or ask questions about potential issues? Does anyone ever fill out a comment card? (I know I wasn’t given one – and there is a missed opportunity right there.)

As it turns out, the issue with the milkshake was probably more a training issue with one employee – I later saw a number of other people get a shake and theirs came with a spoon to scoop the “extra.”  My guy just seemed to miss a small, but important step. But that it was one employee versus and entire company policy doesn’t diminish the importance of listening for and asking about “that seems to happen a lot.”

Everything in your business today IS about marketing!  It’s not just your lead generation or branding elements. It's the way customers are serviced; its asking for feedback; and it's making sure the bill is correct. There is so much competition for the customers' dollar that any little thing through the entire customer experience, can turn a potential referral source or promoter into a detractor to your business.

As to my Red Robin experience, I won’t be going back. It wasn’t the spilt milkshake or even the “it happens a lot.”  It was the fact that after spilling it, he didn’t even offer to get me a refill on the spill.  There are lots of other choices of similar quality and price out there.  I’ll spend my money somewhere else.

Dan Kraus
Written by Dan Kraus

With more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing, and go-to-market strategies, Dan Kraus has developed a deep portfolio of experiences that he now uses to help small businesses profitably grow their businesses. As an entrepreneur, Dan understands the challenges of growing a business with limited capital and human resources. As a line of business manager in larger companies such as SAP America and Great Plains Software (now part of Microsoft), his experience launching new business ventures inside reputable organizations established his reputation as a creative and effective executive that could both plan and execute within corporate confines.

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