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An  Old Fashioned  Story of Service Recovery

Here are some insights from Tony, one of our great interns. He conveyed an experience that he had at one of the top restaurants in the city and it struck me as a great learning experience, so I had to share.

Last Saturday night around midnight several friends and I ventured into a famed bar in Boston s Kenmore Square, as the final stop on our quest for the best Old Fashioned in Boston. Three days prior I had turned 22 years old; and never once while I was 21 was my Oregon State Driver s License called into question. Tonight however, my perfect record failed. The bartender approached us at the bar, took drink orders, and asked for IDs. Going down the line he methodically checked off a Massachusetts ID, a Connecticut ID, and a Florida ID before reaching me. The bartender glanced down, chuckled (to his credit Oregon IDs do look terrible,9), and said he needed to check with the Bar Manager. After a minute or two the Bar Manager returned holding my ID snapped in half, right down the middle, and told me it was among the worst fake IDs she had ever seen. For a few minutes I pled my case, offered backup forms of ID and questioned how she planned to reimburse me for my broken ID. Seeing that I was making no headway and was starting to embarrass myself, we left the bar, trying to preserve what dignity remained.

I returned the next day, passport in hand, ready for a fight. The Day Manager had other plans. After hearing my story the day Manager was incredibly apologetic, and proceeded to look up the cost of a new Oregon State ID and promised to cover the cost whenever I get around to replacing the broken one. In addition to her empathy, she gave me a very generous gift card, and told me to contact her before I come back to ensure that I am well taken care of.

Over the two years that I have lived in Boston I have been to this restaurant a handful of times and have always enjoyed my experiences there. After Saturday night I was positive that I would never return again. The day Manager was so genuinely apologetic and generous in rectifying my unfortunate situation, I can honestly say I am very enthusiastic, albeit perhaps a little wary, to return and have the slate wiped clean.

I still need to try their Old Fashioned.

First of all the foolishness of the manager s handling of the ID kind of needs no comment and of course,, as a high collegiate population town, ID s are always an issue. That said, there is no need to treat a customer with a bad ID any different than a customer with a bad credit card polite, matter of fact and move on.

And now to the service recovery well played! Took a customer that was going to be a vocal (aren t they all?) critic and returned them to the fold as a customer that has, and will return frequently, and will now look at a negative situation in the light of the manager who was proactive and responsive.

Training the team properly to handle these situations, empowering your team to fix things when they go wrong and always making sure your staff know what to do in these situations will keep your guests coming back and spreading the good word about you even when that good word is a story about turning around a bad situation that could have been avoided.