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Are you a recovering restaurateur?

It sounds serious, and it is. Do mistakes happen in your operation? Good, because knowing how to recover from these mistakes is a gold mine of opportunity. Let me explain.

One of the drawbacks to living up here in God's country is that my auto dealership is located in Sacramento, CA — 3 hours away round trip. Recently my car needed servicing, so I drove down for my scheduled appointment, attended a meeting using a loaner car, then went back to pick up the car.

Was it ready? No. Why? They didn't have a part. Now, they knew ahead of time that we needed the part, but did they order it? No. How long will it take? One day. So now what?

Option #1: Drive the loaner home and drive back the next day.
Option #2: Drive my own car home and come back another day.

But neither one of these options was acceptable to me. After all, I had driven 1 1/2 hours and planned my appointment around another obligation. I had talked with the parts department about ordering the part ahead of time, and was assured that it would be ready.

I expressed my frustration to the young Service Coordinator. Without missing a beat — and with a smile on his face and not one ounce of attitude — he offered a new solution: I would drive the loaner car home, and he would deliver my repaired car to me the following day and drive the loaner back.

One problem eliminated. One raving fan created.

I've told this story to anyone who would listen. I wrote a letter to the owner of the dealership. I'd nominate this kid for sainthood. I'd recruit him if I could.

See what I mean? Delivery on the promise — a fixed car — was expected. But recovering from a mistake offered the dealership an opportunity to go above and beyond my expectation. The single element that stood out most, was the young man's attitude. If you're going to make the customer right, get credit. Don't screw it up by having a bad attitude.

How important is it to recover from service failures?
Consider these statistics...

43% of negative encounters are due to a service failure
53% of positive comments are about a recovery from a service failure

Are you a restaurateur who can recover as well as this kid did? Get started on the road to recovery.

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