I have a bad habit of walking into establishments like restaurants, ice cream parlors, comic book stores, or any type of establishments that you can imagine and find what I like about it but I immediately shift towards what it might be missing.
Identifying What I like about the Place
For me it might be the easiest task in the world to find what is missing and criticize it but I first try to find what I really like about the place. By identifying what I like about the place allows me to understand why I would come back in the future to that same location.
I look at the environment, the services, products, hospitality, customer service, and how I feel every time I visit. Once I have identified that establishment as a place that I would like to come back to visit it helps me identify what the place is missing.
What is it missing?
Identifying what is missing can be a fairly simple thing. For some reasons our brains seem to slide into identifying what is wrong or the looking at negative factors of something. On my side if I started to analyze what the place is missing it is because I want it to be better so I can have more reasons to return to the place.
Nobody likes Criticism
Let’s face nobody enjoys criticism directed at them. Deep down no matter how receptive you supposedly are if you have set something up and are missing a few things the worst thing that can happen is to have someone start pointing out the flaws. I have been on both sides and I have to say being on the side of pointing out the flaws is a lot easier than receiving the criticism.
Sharing Your Feedback is Not Always Welcomed
Since being criticized is not something people look forward too if you decide to point out flaws when it has not been requested I can assure you over time you will start gathering enemies. In my case trying to improve a product or service I have shared my criticism and have racked up many detractors who clearly did not understand my intentions of trying to help them and saw my suggestions as an attack. Sadly these individuals took the easy route also of putting up their defenses and in some occasions creating an offense towards my ideas just because I thought they could improve their services or products. At the end of the day if they don’t improve or enhance the customer experience they lose out.
Supporting Those Who At Least Listen
Complaining or sharing process and product improvement ideas with individuals who valued my feedback has help me create close relationships with some establishments and brands. Since I know most people will be bothered by any suggestions for the most part those that listen and appear to act upon it I end up trying to look for a way to support them by bringing them more business and spreading the word on how committed they are to improving.
Leaving Opportunities on The Table
Those who don’t listen leave many opportunities on the Table.
For example I use to work as a waiter for a restaurant in my Home Town in Ponce called El Rincon Argentino. I started going to el Rincon Argentino when it was a hole in a wall with only a few tables. The served great quality food and later on I ended up landing a job as a waiter. Although I got fired from the place in a very unfair way since I was part of the U.S. Army Reserve I continued to visit the restaurant and recommend it.
For years I supported the same person that had let me go in an unfair way because I really loved the food and the environment (I was able to let his strange ways of managing his staff behind me).
Before I became vegetarian I remember visiting the place on three occasions and the food was not as good, the service was terrible, overpriced food, overpriced drinks and the place was not the magical Argentinean restaurant at had worked and eaten at on many occasions.
Since I had always kept a good relationship with the owner of the place on one occasion when he asked me why I had not returned I explained to him how our food on multiple occasions was not cooked well. I also made it a point that before the quality was good and pricing was reasonable but now food and beverage options at the restaurant where expensive and not meeting my standards.
I could not finish the rest of the reasons why I was not visiting the restaurant (even though he asked for my feedback) the owner of the restaurant started attacking me as a person. The person was clearly disgusted with my recommendations and criticism. I never went back to the restaurant after seeing his bad intentions of creating an offensive against me just because I was giving him feedback on his restaurant I began to voice my opinion on the place so others would not waste their money.
I never returned to the restaurant and on every occasion someone asks me about el Rincon Argentino I recommend other options because I don’t want to tie my reputation to such a mediocre place. Months ago while doing research for one of my clients a restaurant in the area I bumped into the reviews of the Rincon Argentino on Tripadvisor. I found it interesting that many people where sharing the same experience I had with the owner of the place. Many of the negative experiences I had at the restaurant and with the owner of the place where being expressed on a review site. To anyone who knows the owner you can clearly see the owners arrogance projected through the complaints of many. (see a sample of a Review Below)
After many years of not supporting the place I have never returned. I drive by the place on many occasions. But I was amazed on how this restaurant owner was acting in such a way that was hurting his own business. In my case this is the first time I document my experience with the owner of this restaurant. But based on the experiences others have had recently I am able to gauge that things have not changed years later.
Closing the communications Channel
I have had similar experiences on how closing the communications channel with local businesses which really did not care or wanted to hear about my negative experience in their place of business. I will be sharing them with the purpose of creating awareness that any business that decides to close the communications channel can end up opening a Pandora’s box of complaints that people have held back for days, weeks, month’s or even years.
In my business I get complaints and suggestions and in some occasions I have to step back and see how I am going to improve upon what individuals have communicated.
It takes a lot of patience and practice but listening to feedback and responding to it is something that you improve over time.
If you take the Rincon Argentino’s approach or the local Car Dealerships like Triangle dealers and Garage Isla Verde approach of closing communications you will put yourself down the road for failure.
Why do you think it is critical to keep the communications channel with your community and clients?
If you need help on communicating with your community or keeping yours communications channels open feel free to contact me or my team at CIMA IT we might be able to help.