Is it my job to educate customers?

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nvb
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2006/04/10 17:35:48 (permalink)

Is it my job to educate customers?

Today I had a complaint from a lady that her chicken-fried steak was nothing but grissle. I appologized to her several times and explained that I use only choice Angus cutlets, then asked if I could replace it, but she declined. I gave her a free meal card and took said steak back to the kitchen to examine. Sure enough there was not a bit of grissle in it.

I don't think the lady was scamming me or anything, but I think it's more probable that she only eats CFS at Dairy Queen.
#1

23 Replies Related Threads

    Sundancer7
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 18:07:35 (permalink)
    Slick, I am sure that you will find that you can please some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time.

    Percentage wise, I am sure that you will have occasional folks who do not like what they get for some reason or other.

    I am not sure how you handled it but with some, you just have to suck it up.

    Good luck with the occasional customer that is hard to please.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #2
    EdSails
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 18:15:26 (permalink)
    Tough call. I was at a German restaurant last weekend and the Jaegerschnitzel/veal was not very tender. I do what tender veal is like but chose not to say anything. I know if I had there would have been the same kind of questions-----but I'm not sure they would have handled it as nicely as you did. You have a point-----I tend to wonder about my CFS if it doesn't have some chewiness in it. I do wonder though about someone who complains and then declines a replacement. Was she all of a sudden not hungry----or just looking for an excuse to get a free meal? From what I see you did everything you should and more. But to answer your question, educating customers is part of what makes the difference between a real place and a fast food/chain place. Maybe she didn't understand, but there's the chance that the next person you educate about something like that will really appreciate it and learn what real food is.
    #3
    nvb
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 18:40:02 (permalink)
    I just sucked it up, Paul. Funny, but I had this same thing with my brother-in-law a while back. He ordered a CFS sandwich and told me it was a bit chewey. I congratulated him for recognizing real meat instead of hamburger bonded together with some vegetable stuff.

    By the time I got to examine this piece of meat the lady had left the store, and honestly I don't think she would have believed me.
    #4
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 19:12:49 (permalink)
    I'll tell you Slick, you handled it with panache. Kudos!
    #5
    nvb
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 19:29:18 (permalink)
    Thanks, Michael. I appreciate the kind word.
    #6
    roossy90
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 19:33:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Slick

    Today I had a complaint from a lady that her chicken-fried steak was nothing but grissle. I appologized to her several times and explained that I use only choice Angus cutlets, then asked if I could replace it, but she declined. I gave her a free meal card and took said steak back to the kitchen to examine. Sure enough there was not a bit of grissle in it.

    I don't think the lady was scamming me or anything, but I think it's more probable that she only eats CFS at Dairy Queen.

    Either that, or she buys the Tyson CFS' in the frozen 10 pack at Wallyworld.
    #7
    mayor al
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 19:34:20 (permalink)

    After all the ranting back and forth for the past month or so about customer gripes, it is refreshing to see a 'merchant' who practices some intelligent customer relations in his business. Slick, maybe you had to bite your tongue on this one, but you did the right thing. If you knew the customer, like your brother-in-law, it would be ok to discuss it with them and hopefully convert their thinking. With a stranger the odds are you would run into a conflict and lose more than the sale. You don't have to throw in the towel in these situations, just make an offer that will smooth out the situation and invite them back. If they ask, you certainly can describe the difference between 'real' and 'manufactured' CFS, but to do it as a defense for your product makes the customer do the same for their complaint. That's where the conflict would begin. You controlled the whole thing very well.
    #8
    Adjudicator
    Sirloin
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 19:38:32 (permalink)
    "I don't think the lady was scamming me or anything, but I think it's more probable that she only eats CFS at Dairy Queen."

    CASE CLOSED
    #9
    Rick F.
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 20:02:00 (permalink)
    If I simply don't like something I'll say so--not asking or even accepting a refund. After all, I could have asked for more information. If the food is actually somehow "bad" I'll explain why I feel that way and not worry about it. If an apology or replacement is graciously offered, I may or may not accept--but I'll return to a place where the staff listems, even if we have honest disagreements. Education is a two-way street.
    #10
    Rootsman
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 21:09:40 (permalink)
    Sometimes it's our job to educate customers. It usually goes over better when they order rather than when they perceive a problem.

    I occassionally have an issue with customers that confuse the pink from smoking BBQ with being undercooked.
    #11
    nvb
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 21:15:45 (permalink)
    Guys, I appreciate the nice words, but as most of you know I'm pretty new to this business (2 years) and I'm pretty much learning every day. This is one reason I like to throw out my new experiences and get your feedback. I appreciate this place because I can get this kind of feedback from you folks.

    Thanks again.
    #12
    Raine
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 21:27:39 (permalink)
    Yeah, we try to educate customers on bbq & sauce.

    They come in and ask what kind of bbq is it? My favorite reply is Championship. Then they will ask, is it vinegar based or tomato based, to which we say you're talking sauce.

    BBQ is meat, and sauce is sauce. Sauce is to compliment the bbq, not be the bbq. Although some of them never taste the meat as they will use a half of bottle of sauce. We don't flavor our bbq with anything but hickory wood.

    We do have a couple of sauces, our signature sauce (what I call a peidmont stlye sauce, which is vinegar based, but has a good bit more spices than the tradtional NC vinegar based sauce. We have a sweet sauce and Texas Pete.

    #13
    mr chips
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 21:55:53 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Rootsman

    Sometimes it's our job to educate customers. It usually goes over better when they order rather than when they perceive a problem.

    I occassionally have an issue with customers that confuse the pink from smoking BBQ with being undercooked.
    A local barb ecue place in Portland has dealt with that issue by placing a sign at the beginning of the ordering spot what the color of the meat ought to be.
    #14
    Raine
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 22:01:24 (permalink)
    We wondered if we were going to have to do that. So far, nobody has siad anything or had questions about the color, so no need for any signs of explanation. They do ask, how do we get it and keep it so moist?
    #15
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/10 22:17:24 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    I for one am always grateful when I am guided to anything locally-preferred when I am on the road. Absolutely, positively - educating your customers a small step at a time is a side part of being a good restaurateur (sp.?). After all, the lady at the early-morning eatery I lucked upon in downtown Kannapolis, North Carolina advised me to try livermush, telling me that if I didn't like it, they'd fix me up something else. I've been a fan since 1979 as a result.
    Viscerally, Ort. Carlton in Tol'able Athens, Georgia.
    #16
    Bushie
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/11 00:10:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Slick


    By the time I got to examine this piece of meat the lady had left the store, and honestly I don't think she would have believed me.

    She would not have believed you, and I really think you did all you could do. She obviously didn't like the texture of "real meat". Her preference, so no use taking the time to "educate" her on that.

    Slick, based on what you've said in your posts, you seem to me to be a guy who understands people (customers), and I think (and hope) that it will eventually morph into success for you.

    I'm not saying this as a restaurateur, but as a demanding customer myself. And as you know, the customer is always right.
    #17
    V960
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/11 08:35:31 (permalink)
    As we say here in the South..."Ya done good."

    Hope she never orders the CFS at Rio Ranch in Houston. Very upscale, moderatly expensive, very tasty but a bit chewy. Blasted thing is as big as a hub cap but great.
    #18
    V960
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/11 10:02:20 (permalink)
    Commenting on the subject line...yes I think we do have do some measure of education. Our company only does catering and small town fairs now, not actually your problem. Samples have proved to be a wonderful thing for us for the past forty years when we had a brick and mortar place. My father would take every extra moment to take around samples for future business.

    I want to put up (but won't) a large sign telling people dipping sauce does NOT mean drowning sauce. And YES the hot hot sauce is spicy.

    Pot stickers and yaki soba (I lean toward Oriental foods) do take some explantion PLUS samples. Our margins are very good and our return business is good.
    #19
    Adjudicator
    Sirloin
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/11 20:48:24 (permalink)
    "I want to put up (but won't) a large sign telling people dipping sauce does NOT mean drowning sauce. And YES the hot hot sauce is spicy."

    LOL
    #20
    nvb
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/11 22:11:41 (permalink)
    This sounds like the Dave's Insanity hot sauce I keep setting on a warning (8x10 sheet of paper) lable on the counter. Someone will grab it and think "this warning doesn't mean me" and cover their food with it.

    I then have to supply sweet milk and honey to put the fire out.
    #21
    pcdiva
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/11 22:44:08 (permalink)
    I wonder how many people you have to explain "sweet milk" to on a daily basis. I used this phrase to mean "non-buttermilk" i.e. whole milk, skim, etc. and the person I was talking to thought I meant milk with sweetner added! But he also didn't have any vinegar or lemon juice in the house to make sour milk for his corn bread! (silly northerners!) I told him to go ahead and use what he had since the corn bread was going into stuffing anyway.

    As to the person with the CFS, you did the right thing under the circumstances. Sometimes we do have to educate our customers, but usually that's a happy part of the job.

    #22
    prisonchef
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/11 23:48:23 (permalink)
    yep it is your job to educate.
    not a lot of fun but the rewards can be great.
    try going from 4 ounces of beef brisket in sales per day to over 20 pounds in the same time period.
    the 1st 4 months sucked
    the last 8 haven't
    nuff said
    #23
    V960
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    RE: Is it my job to educate customers? 2006/04/12 08:52:16 (permalink)
    My dear wife of twenty plus years always complains about my customer relation skills. "We need to work on our people skills".

    I make a hot sauce which is simply scotch bonnets, vinegar and tomato paste (very little) dumped in a blender. Hot as the fires of Hades but actually has an intersting fruit background. If you like hot food and don't put too much on the dumpling it is great. The morons who put it on like jam (that is what it looks like) stand in front of the booth w/ bloodshot eyes and running noses.

    "Sorry no milk here and a dairy product is what you need" The sign above the sauce states that it is very very hot and should be used in moderation.

    I know it is a one time thing but one clown filled a coke bottle w/ the hot sauce ...making a big mess...and was pissed because I asked him to pay for it. He refused but somehow the coke bottle hit the ground and burst...soooo sad.

    Now this is at a fair so return customers and word of mouth is minimal. Once again...I need to work on my people skills.

    #24
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