Pop quiz time.
The best way to make a restaurant customer happy from the moment of their arrival is to:
a) Greet them with a warm, friendly salutation as they enter your establishment
b) Have everyone, including the manager, ignore them as if they were one of the paranormal characters from the “Paranormal Activity” movies
If you answered ‘b,’ we may have met at Bonefish Grill in Katy, TX not too long ago. And thanks to social media, thousands of people have been introduced to you, too.
In years gone by, my less-than-par experience at Bonefish would have been heard by a few friends and co-workers— not an insignificant number, but not enough to make a huge dent in the everyday operations of a multi-million dollar restaurant chain.
Enter social media.
Each business, from the lowliest taco stand to the grandest steak house is on notice to be on their best behavior 24/7/365. No longer was disseminating my experience relegated to a “lucky” few; with Twitter and Facebook and all the other social media vehicles, my opinion took a cross-country cruise to thousands in a little over the course of a few hours.
Social media is one of the most powerful tools a business of ANY kind has at its disposal. But like The Force, it can be good or bad. When it’s good, your customers sing your praises with the harmony of a barbershop quartet and reach, in more than a few cases, thousands of people. But when it’s bad, every shortcoming, every missed opportunity to please a customer, is not only highlighted, it’s attached to a bullhorn set on 11 (that’s one louder) with a floodlight shot to the heavens that is seen for miles.
When I announced my displeasure at the experience I had at Bonefish on Twitter and included them in that exchange, things started happening. An apology, an offer to make it better, etc. soon followed. I was told that someone would contact me (I DM’d them my phone number and email per their request) within two days. If contact was not made, I was told to get in touch with them.
In my world, the guilty party goes out of their way to make things right. In my world, the guilty party makes sure I was contacted and that my satisfaction has been re-established in spades.
So far, things seem to be rolling along toward a destination that I will find pleasing. And thanks to social media, my travel time has been much shorter than in years past. I will keep you all posted as to what transpires.
How’s THAT for an effective comment card?
—Part 2 was published here a few days later—