This blog is being written as a sequel to the one last week entitled 3 Rules to Live By in Business, where I explained the three rules that Bob Nicoli, my father and the founder of Teltek has built our company upon.
Over the past few weeks, I have had some surprisingly poor customer service while going about my busy life. I live just seconds from our office in Canton, a downtown neighborhood of Baltimore City, Maryland and as most business owners do, I work a lot of long hours. Consequentially, I dine out a good bit; and when I do, I am very observant about what goes on around me. Our customers will tell you that I am obsessed with reputation, image and customer service when it comes to my business, so I often hold the bar high when I am on the customer side of life.
Last week, 3 of my friends and I were spending the day on the water in the Baltimore Harbor and had the itch for a Maryland staple – crabs and beer. We were within walking distance of 3 crab houses and decided to select one of them because none of the four of us had been there before. As we walked in, I could just tell this was a bad decision, but we sat down anyway.
After a very long wait, a server greeted us and asked to take our order – 2 dozen crabs, a pitcher of beer, fresh steamed corn, French fries and ice waters for the table. We were informed that they did not have ice water available, we would have to purchase bottled water at $2.50 per bottle and against our better judgment, we did. The server returned with a 16 ounce bottle of off-brand water and cups of ice – not off to a good start.
The $80 a dozen crabs came out cold and were not flavored well, the corn was served with artificial squirts vegetable oil butter and the beer was warm and flat. The server did not check back on us and the place was filthy. With the tip this meal cost us $57.00 per person. After that experience, all of us vowed to never go back and make sure to tell everyone we know not to make the mistake we did.
On average, I probably eat crabs 5-6 times a year and figure the average Baltimore resident does close to the same. Basic math shows that I probably spend $285-$342 annually as an individually on this; collectively as a group of four this would be $1,140-$1,368 annually – that means that over the course of the next 10 years, this restaurant will lose somewhere between $11,400 and $13,680 of our business alone… not to mention the damage that the negative word of mouth and Google and Yelp reviews each of us posted… good thing they got their $10 for 4 bottled waters!
Evaluating this experience, here are the mistakes that were made:
- Forcing us to buy a bill of goods that was not necessary; bottled water when we wanted tap
- Not serving quality products: vegetable oil instead of real butter
- Quality control: not having a manager or supervisor checking things like the temperature of the beer, seasoning on the crabs and the cleanliness of the deck
You will never find this kind of experience with Teltek because we take great pride in the quality of products and service that we deliver!
Like Mr. Bob always said – “screw me once shame on you – screw me twice shame on me!”