What type of a customer are you?

All these years I believe I have seen and met so many customers that I bet I can name most of them. They are:

  • The fast and furious – this type of customers know what they want and want it fast even at the extent of being rude and without concern for others. This type of customer makes you feel truly a “server”. They enjoy the feeling of superiority and the attention.
  • The easy-going – this type of customers are very pleasant and just out to enjoy the day/night. They are easy to please and can pick anything off the menu.
  • Professional complainers – this type of customer we can smell a mile away. They start with a compliant and ends with a complaint. There is no way to satisfy this customer
  • Lovely grandparents – this type of customers remind you of your lovely grandma and grandpa and you just want to give all you best to make them happy.
  • Love birds – this type of customers just can’t get enough of each other and the public display of affection makes others uncomfortable.
  • Demanding customers – this customers are loud with their demands and love the attention they get from other customers
  • Adams’ family – this type of customers bring all their kids and just let them loose to make horrible mess for us to clean.
  • Attention seekers – this type of customers wants the server to be at all times by their side and even ask one thing after another. If possible they want one waiter just to themselves.
  • Executive type can’t be bothered customer – this customer is always on the phone or laptop and can never be ready to give their orders. But then when waiters are busy they keep on snapping their fingers and shout out for service.
  • Appreciative customers – pleasant and enjoys their time.
  • freebie customers – this type of customer are out to complain in the hope they can get free meals and drinks
  • Loyal customers – this customers comes in regularly and gets the same thing off the menu and drink the same drink. They like stability and ask for the same server
  • Your royal highness customers – this type of customers feel they are royals and servers must “bow down to them and give everything they need”.
  • Big “tippers” – this type of customers, when you meet their expectations they reward accordingly.
  • Poor “tippers”- this type of customers never seem to understand excellent service and feel that it’s the waiters job to serve and does not deserve extra.
  • Chatty customers – this customer wants to hug all the time of the waiter/server and totally oblivious to the fact that we have other things to do.
  • Price sensitive – this type of customers are asking for the prices of each items and will express how expensive everything is.
  • The flirts – this type of customers comes in and flirts to all staff and even go as far as to get their contact numbers.
  •  The creapy one – this customer is weird and just ask the strangest questions and tells the most creapy stories about themselves.
  • The sad one – this customers tell the saddest stories about themselves or their family
  • The sharer – this type of customer shares everything about themselves
  • The acting dumb one –  this customer thinks sounding dumb is cute. This cusotmer will ask “what is a sausage roll?”
  • The normal – this customer comes in and just gets his meal and drink with a smile – no fuss to trouble.
  • The friendly ones – these customers know the names of their servers and apprecite their hard work
  • Discount discount – this customer is always asking for discount on everything
  • Suspicious one – this customer is always suspicious about the quality of the food and suspect the waiter spat on the food. They also think that the server is cheating them all the time.
  • Dr Jeckle and Mr Hyde – this customer is so pleasant but when they check out they write horrible reviews.

We are all a customer, but which type depends on us entirely. The rule of thumb is – for the server, serve like you wish to be served. For the customer, imagine if you are the one serving.

 

 

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Seeing it from customers eyes

We all have been a customer. It was when we dined in a restaurant, when we bought our mobile phone, purchased that great pair of shoes, or when we asked a hotel to organise an anniversary/birthday party for us. All these years I have noticed one thing that really changed being one of those customers, and that is…customer service has gotten worst! I do not know if it is just me and my high expectations to get good value for my hard-earned money,  but it seems like good customer service is like finding a good film on Netflix. Its rare and often it is just same old, same old stuff.

I have been just recently in a mobile store to change my broken phone. When I entered this store, no one even bothered to say hello or offered any form of assistance (it was dead quiet in that store at that time). Stood there for about 5 minutes browsing through but no one bothered to ask if they can help. In short, I got out and just went online to get my new phone. But I opted for my phone to be picked up in that store and not delivered just to find out how they will deal with this. That day came and I went back to that store. Again, no one bothered to say hello or offered to help. So I approached one of the staff and asked if the phone I ordered online arrived. She went and got it for me. Suddenly, like an “on”switch flicked and she became an accommodating highly efficient staff. She asked if I wanted an insurance for my phone, if I needed cover or extra gigabytes. Wow! Score for up selling. I bet she is on commission. Well and good, but where was this interest to the customers at the first instance? I don’t think I will set my foot again in that store. If not for keeping my mobile number, I would switch to another company as easy as going to the toilet – no regrets of releasing that burden and feeling of great relief after.

I am sure all of you had some experiences when you went into a store and the staff are just gossiping and did not even bother to acknowledge you. And when they did, you got a feeling that you had interrupted them from their important conversation.What about when you entered a store or restaurant and everyone seemed to be under stress and very worked up that if you made the wrong move you will get killed? Or when in a restaurant and the staff trying their best to avoid eye contact so that you will not ask them anything? How about when you found a pair of shoes but wanted the right size and could not find a staff to ask? I remember once I took my wife to celebrate our anniversary in this nice restaurant/hotel (hint – many seasons) in London and after our meal the waiter said to me, “I am sure you enjoyed your meal as you only left the bone”. I am not a snotty, pretentious person and could have taken it as a joke but the timing was really off and the attitude was uncalled for.I will leave it to your imagination as to what happened to the rest of that night…

Do you wonder sometimes when you walk on the high streets and find many stores closed or about to close? And they say, “oh the business environment isn’t great anymore”, or “rent is too high”,” I don’t have the right product”, or “I am in the wrong location” or “too many competitors”, and so on. But I think all it is, if they got that customer service right…they will still be in business.

Being in the industry for a long time, I have served so many people from all walks of life and would not dream of insulting my customers or ignore them. Customers will keep our businesses running and in effect keep our jobs going. Also, remember that we are all customers and for this reason we must treat our customers the way we wanted to be treated. When money is hard and nowadays it’s even harder to earn it let alone save it, we put great care as to how we spend it. If an establishment will not make an effort to win us as a customer – do not spend your hard-earned money in that business.

Always remember, great people make great business!

Quit whining, suck it up and drive on!

I get it. There are just some days that will bring out the beast in you. It could be those days when you had a late night with a friend but still needed to get up and go to work. It could be one of those days when you had a fight about all things stupid. Some days when we don’t know what day it is because we feel like it is the same as the others. Or one of those worst days when it feels like we are stuck in a nightmare.

OK, everyone has one of those days. But what I do not understand is when someone moans, complains, and slags their jobs and colleagues constantly.

One regular customer starts her day with what hard day she is going to have and must get the strongest coffee. She continues on with how stupid her boss is and has no clue of running a business. Then followed by how hard she works and her colleagues are just waste of space. Believe me, we are so lucky her orders are to take away. I could just imagine what fun she is to work with. But looking back when I used to work in the hotel/restaurant, there was this person that came in to work always moaning about how tired she was even before she started her shift and how many big tasks she must accomplish everyday. No matter how hard you tried to top her stories of difficulty, she always came out victorious for having the worst day ever. Now, I am not saying women moans a lot more than men (no pun intended). It just so happen that these two women stand out in my mind. I am sure there are plenty of stories when men bitch about all things too. I mean, we discovered man flu didn’t we? So this is about people not being happy with their jobs and constantly complaining about the people they work with. But my question is…why do they keep on doing it? Why do they still come to work and make us all miserable? I get that we all need money so we need to work. Fair enough. But to be miserable everyday – day in day out, is just unacceptable.

I really do not know if the complaining is just to draw attention to themselves and implant things in our minds what tasks they can do and they should be paid more than others? Or could it be they just need some hugs and kisses to make all misery go away? Remember, there is always a choice. Being miserable and negative at work is not acceptable. If you are not happy you can find another job and move to another island. But somehow I feel that this kind of people will be the same anywhere they go. Unless, they change their attitude towards work and colleagues. They change their perception of life. Otherwise negativity will consume them and destroy everything around them including their friends and family. Because to these people, nothing is good enough, nobody is good enough and therefore life is miserable.

So, in the end where are we on this issue? If you have a moaner in your team or at home, advise them kindly and positively to take a long holiday and preferable not to come back. Or, tell them,” quit whining, suck it up and drive on!”

 

 

The dreaded topic – PAY

Business owners, senior managers and whoever wants to run successful businesses…pay your hard-working, fantastic people well!

How much? I will tell you. Now we can just Google anything. Type in a job title on your computer and add the place of your work and shazam! You got the information! Also, there is the “imposed” national minimum wage. So nothing is difficult about just following what the minimum wage thrust upon us. Like it states – minimum not maximum. So everyone just gives the minimum. Very convenient isn’t it? But the big question is…is the minimum wage or what Google search comes up with shows the real representation of your hard work? Pay is defined as: money due for work done. Is the minimum wage really the going on rate for your hard work? For supervisors, assistant managers and managers, does the Google search engine really gives justice to your commitment to the job? Your unquestionable honesty and dedication? How about those extra hours you put in just to make sure your team is ok and business is doing well? But how about those missed out family gatherings and celebrations due to the “unavoidable work”?

The funny and sad thing is, I have witnessed many cases when one great manager is paid less than a crap manager for the same or similar job. How is this possible when we stated that there is a search engine, a sort of market value marker to follow that helps us level all salary and wages to fair and equal status? You would think that is the case isn’t?  Like everyone will get same salary for the same job. No, we are wrong. It seems you can make your employer raise or decrease your salary rate depending on how good you are in haggling/negotiating. Or how desperate the company or business is to fill that key position. So this means, with all that information out there that says this is the salary for that kind of job in that kind of place is just full of nonsense.

The reality is, asking for the right salary for you is like playing poker. Even if you are rubbish manager/team member but knows how to “read the desperate cards” of your employer, you can still win big time compared to the hard-working, dedicated and honest manager/team member who does not “play poker” at all. Why can’t it be just simple? Pay the good people good salary and the great people great salary. Of course these people need to prove their worth. A year or two will do it. You would know already if its worth to invest good money to that one who makes your business work well and gives you the profit you desire. Dont wait for these people to beg for a raise. If you wait too long you might lose them and you will end up with the burden of training cost again and again and still get those rubbish ones.

But how do we weed out the bad from the good? From my experience, I would check how long this candidate stays in his/her present or past jobs. Anyone who stays longer than 3 years in a job for me is worth offering more than the base entry-level salary. Why? Because these people show stamina, dedication, stability, dependability, sense of loyalty, ability to commit to progress, or withstand changes/challenges of the times. These are the people we need even they don’t know how to play “poker”.

To sum it all up and answer the question, how much do we pay great people? My answer is in the form of a question…how much does your business means to you?

Remember, great people makes great businesses.

 

How do we really hire people for the job?

After all these years in the hospitality and catering industry, I am still puzzled as to how we really hire people. Yes, yes, I know we have company procedures and all those recruitment baloney. But for those who have been long enough in the industry, let us be honest to ourselves – we really don’t have a clue. Because if we did, recruitment agencies will be out of business and we will have a perfect team at all times. Imagine that, no staff turnover.But in reality this is not the case and we all know it. Why? Because we are all still hiring.

Yes we advertise, we collect the CVs, we select the best possible candidate for the job based on their CV, set interviews, give interviews and finally do the trial shift and if lucky, second interview to finally get the job. And after all that rigorous selection process, within six months if lucky, we are back to square one looking again for a replacement.

What is it? What is that secret to finding the right people? Obviously interviews will never be the true gauge in finding the best people. Unless you are an expert mind reader, fortune-teller, or accomplished torturer to get the truth out of people, interviews can only get you scratching the surface. All the candidate needs to do is to be brilliant for two hours and he/she is laughing to the bank doing bare minimum.

Having stated the facts above, it may also be the case of finding that true good ones but we failed to support them. They got overwhelmed and lost it.

So where are we on finding the right people for our businesses? From my experience, it is like gold panning. We sift and sift and continue to sift that mud and sand until we get that one tiny tiny gold spec to collect and preciously keep. Gold panning is a simple process for finding gold. But it takes a lot of patience, skills, and a bit of luck.

This subject is still my mission. An open case that we still need to solve. I want to find the secret formula to finding great people. But until then, we just keep panning for that tiny gold.

If you know…share.

 

To those who look down on us, think again.

When a doctor attends to your health, you see the doctor as a respected professional who takes care of you. When an architect builds your homes, you see him/her as the genius that made your dream house come true and you are happy. When a lawyer speaks with you with such great expertise on the laws we are so impressed. When a middle age man/woman serves you coffee and sandwiches, what do you see? What do you think of this person? Or have you not even noticed?

Some of us start work as early as 4am. This is so because we want to make all products fresh and good for you. We spent long hours to make sure your business conference run smoothly. We took a great deal of effort to understand how to make the best food and drink that you can have.

By providing you with quality good food, have we not looked after your health like the doctors? By making sure your business conferences/meetings run smoothly without any distractions, have we not contributed to your dreams of success like the architect? When you ask how we make the best dish you have ever tasted, do we not speak of expertise like the lawyers we admire?

Why do you still look down on us or even worst, do not see us? If you think hard, we have been a part of your life in some ways or another – your birthday, your wedding, your first job, celebrating your promotions, wedding anniversary, the birth of your first child, the everyday coffee you take with a friend…

You had seen the doctor few times. You asked the architect once to build your home. Maybe not even spoke to a lawyer but still admire how intelligent they are. We have been with you almost everyday.

I hope the next time we meet again, you can see a friend that had been with you all these years.

 

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The ugly truth about hospitality

Some people think hospitality is the worst industry to be in. Sometimes I do too. They view it like being trapped in a life of servitude. God knows how many times we say, “yes sir, yes mam, sorry sir, sorry mam” during our undefined daily working hours. How we must apologise for everything and anything. How we always fail to meet their ever-growing expectations. And how we must stretch to give into their every unreasonable requests. On top of this, let us just get it out there…the pay sucks! The industry is the lowest paid industry across the nation. No wonder majority who works in this industry are foreigners. Just because no local will work in these conditions so foreigners will have to make do even not able to speak a word of English. And yet, locals still has the guts to say that foreigners are taking their jobs! What?! Nobody wants this job except foreigners, middle-aged has been, lazy benefit sucking individuals who are obligated to at least do 16 hours work per week to get benefits (and do bare minimum at work) or students who are looking for work experience. Even when we get few candidates in for training, after few weeks or months they are gone and it all starts all over again. Honestly, the hiring advertisement we placed online and on the window stayed their for months without a hint of any positive results. If you have an HR office, I bet it is either busy recruiting again and again because nobody stays or the office is so quiet because no one is applying.This is the truest reflection of how this industry is viewed by outsiders. And this is the plain ugly truth.

But why some people stay and do well in this industry? Because believe it or not, some people are passionate about this job and actually loves it. Yes loves it despite of all the ugly truth behind it. However, they are very few and like endangered species they should be taken cared of and protected.

I could never forget when this business owner asked me, “how can we bottle great culture, excellent work ethics and amazing passion?” so that we can distribute this to all of our businesses and make them work well.This is why I am here…this is my mission. Finding the great ingredients to distribute them to make great people and build great businesses.

Until then…