Excuse after excuse, the manager needed us to know that she was correct, and we were wrong.

I was eating breakfast at one of my preferred breakfast joints, and my favorite meal came out wrong!  I had ordered the same plate at other locations, and what they brought out did not resemble the fantastic dish I was expecting.  I immediately sent it back with the waiter, asking for it to be corrected.

The manager came by the table, and I explained my experiences with the meal at the other locations. Unapologetically, she informed me that the meal is correct because they changed the recipe a month ago.  Disappointed, I asked if they could make it the old way for me.  She rushed off, agreeing, but looking like I just added a gigantic weight to her shoulders.

Something didn’t add up.  The dish was so good the way they used to do it, and so inferior in the way they presented it to me.  So while I waited, I called two of the other locations to ask the managers there if they had changed the formula on this mouth-watering dish within the last couple months. To my surprise, they both said no, and were confused by my experience!

The breakfast “redo” arrived, and was just as bad as the first time it had made its appearance at the table. I informed the manager about the other locations not being aware of the changes, and she nervously continued to make more excuses. It was time to throw in the flag, and give the manager the satisfaction of being “right.”  I was tired of the conversation.

In the end, did the manager win?

Dale Carnegie Said “You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.”

In any service industry, employees and leaders need to make the customer feel they are right, even if they are wrong. After all, in the “experience economy,” there are too many alternatives.  If an experience is negative, there is absolutely no reason for a customer to return.  If a mistake occurs, admit it quickly and apologize!  If the customer is unhappy, demonstrate some empathy, and try to make it right!

The manager at my former preferred breakfast joint cared more about being right than whether I had a positive experience at her restaurant. As a result, the restaurant lost a loyal customer forever.

Download Dale Carnegie’s latest white paper on “Recognizing Leadership Blind Spots.”

Posted by Danica Panosh

Driven, innovative, living the dream. Danica currently attends Collin College, pursuing a degree in International Political Economy. Her past work experience includes the food service industry, insurance industry, and construction industry. She graduated from the Dale Carnegie Course in 2015.

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