Maintaining The Relationship with Customers
We all know the phrase “customers are always right.” We are willing to try our very best to please the customers so that they will come back again. However, do we have to listen to the customers’ requests all the time even though they are ridiculous? Mr. Nguyen Minh Hien, the manager of Champaign restaurant at Liberty 2 hotel (Que Huong hotel) from Liberty Hospitality Corporation on Ham Nghi Street, district 1, with more than 20 years working in hospitality service industry, said that 1 satisfied customer would only bring up to 5 new customers but 1 unsatisfied customer would take away a hundred customers from a company. As a result, it is true that we should make customers happy by providing them great products, great service, and reasonable price. We listen to them and make them feel valuable so that they are willing to use our service again (Pyle, L.S. 2008). However, it also depends on the company’s values, the situation and on the customers themselves. In the situation where we cannot fulfill customers’ request, the way we approach and communicate with the customers will be the key to make a customer happy or not.
Because the restaurant’s location is in financial district in Saigon where most of the customers are Vietnamese businessmen in finance and banking industry, it is not just the customers choose the restaurant, but Champaign restaurant also chooses the customers, as well. The restaurant always has high standard of trained staffs to match the target public, the customers of the restaurant. Every month, the restaurant has special trainings and briefings for staffs, specifically for waiters and waitresses since they are the ones who directly interact with the customers everyday. Most of the 4 and 5 star hotels and restaurants provide an excellent service, but the customers, especially Vietnamese customers, may feel uncomfortable and cold because the staff can be too professional and scripted sometimes. And so the customers do not want to come back because they feel intimidating. As a result, Champaign restaurant always tries to make the customers feel warm and welcome as if they are at home. The staffs are also friendly and flexible to deal with different customers in different situations. For example, a customer wants to have a particular dish from the restaurant, but the ingredients to make that dish do not meet the standard to be served. The restaurant has to honestly notify about the incident, admit that it is the restaurant’s fault and apologize to the customers (Marks, G. 2012). Then, he/ she can suggest and recommend the customer to try something new from the restaurant menu and give a customer a discount. Make sure that the waiter/waitress do not confront and argue with the customer at any cost. By not pressuring on the customer, the customer can easily forgive about the incident and more likely to come back to the restaurant the next time. Also, the customer can see how the restaurant actually cares about the customer’s health, the restaurant’s value, the restaurant’s reputation, and that the restaurant does not put the profit on top of everything else (Newman, C. 2008). Moreover, it can create and maintain influential, value-added relationships with difficult customers (Oade, A. 2012).
To maintain a good relationship with customers we have to treat customers genuinely and fairly. The key is to keep their best interest in mind. We have to take the extra step, be flexible, and do a little more than what customers expect. Last but not least, we need to treat the customers the way we want to be treated. Always tell the truth, and admit when we make a mistake. Tell them what happened, what was wrong. Give them the solution to fix the situation and make sure that it never happens again.
Author: Luong Tuong Vi – s3410141
Marks, G. 2012, ‘Be Like Mitt Romney: Admit When You’re Wrong’, Inc., 10 October, viewed on 8 January 2014, < http://www.inc.com/gene-marks/mitt-romney-small-business-admit-when-youre-wrong.html>
Newman, C. 2008, ‘Boundary Issues in the Professional/Client Relationship’, Journal of Community Corrections, 1 March, viewed on 8 January 2014, <http://www.ncaassociates.com/pdf/ICCA-1701-sa3-Newman.pdf>
Oade, A. 2012, Managing Challenging Clients – Building Effective Relationships with Difficult Customers, Palgrave Macmillan, New York
Pyle, L.S. 2008, ‘Keep Your Customers From Straying’, Entrepreneur, 12 June, viewed on 8 January 2014, < http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/194784>
Proof of life (taken by author). Mr. Nguyen Minh Hien at Champaign restaurant, the 10th floor of Liberty 2 hotel