I remember recently eating at Barry’s Pizza on Richmond and Fountainview in west Houston, and when the waiter (Frank) asked me if everything was fine, I told him no, a half truth.
Engaging The Waiter at Barry’s Pizza
I explained to him that I liked the cheese on the pizza, but that the ground beef seemed like cheap taco meat, and that I expected chunks of ground beef like when I order pizza from Dominoes, Pizza Inn, Little Caesers, or when I buy grocery store pizza brands.
He replied by saying that he also didn’t like that
taco meat ground beef, and that the restaurant could probably do a better job in that department, and that he never orders the (alleged) beef topping on his pizzas. Once I detected that he was employing the age old tactical sales-craft of establishing common ground with the customer, I decided to end my complaint.
The Truth of My Struggle
Every time I managed to get a slice of that flimsy hand-tossed pizza perfectly mounted in my hand (a challenge), I experienced problems. The ground meat, allegedly beef, or shall we say “cheap taco meat,” kept rolling off of the pizza regardless of which angle from which I chose to aim the pizza at my mouth for consumption. By the time I bit into my pizza, a task in itself, I felt like the alleged tomato sauce had a chili-like flavor when it activated my taste buds. This taste failed to meet my expectations.
Special Note: Dominoes Pizza has also incorporated a substance into their tomato sauce which tastes similar. This is unacceptable.
A disgraceful pizza, 2 cold beers, and a pound of buffalo wings ran me 48.00. My experience at Barry’s Pizza was somewhat pleasant because the environment was “cool” and laid back, but the main course was just shy of anathema. They get a 6/10 rating from me with a majority of the points that make up the 6 resulting from the comfortable environment.
Did I Lie to Frank?
I never explained to Frank that I was unhappy with the pizza in it’s entirety. I told him that I liked the wings, and that the pizza was cool, but that I didn’t like the ground meat. This is enough information to know that I probably should have been given a new pizza, and to the fault of Barry’s Pizza, he didn’t bother to offer it. However, I told him I was cool with the pizza, a half-truth, or better yet, a lie.
I will never dine at their restaurant again in life. Is it a bad restaurant? No. Absolutely not. But I didn’t like my experience with the pizza, and that’s all that matters.
The Tranquility of the Lying Customer
The lying customer can be a huge problem if they’re falsely claiming to be happy with the product/service that you’re offering. It’s only a matter of time before those kind-hearted lies complete a slowly advancing reversal away from your business.
Maybe if I had told Frank the whole truth about how I felt about the pizza they would have made the investment in my happiness.
I lied to Frank.
I could have told Frank that the pizza was flimsy, the alleged beef was horrible, and that the sauce was trash. But hey, who wants to be the customer that’s complaining about every little thing? Eating out is supposed to be tranquil, and tranquility is why people eat out in nice restaurants. I didn’t want to complain, I wanted to eat, enjoy my experience, leave, and never come again.
The Lying Customer: A Danger to Your Business
I withheld valuable information that could have helped Barry’s Pizza offer a better product, add an alternative to the menu, or better address customer concerns and preferences during the order phase. Maybe I should have went with the Deep Dish pizza, or another one of the many types of pizza they offer, but that will never happen and I’ll never know. They lost a customer. If they had given me a new pizza, I would have surely patronized the business again, but that’s not gonna happen.
The worst part: I’m telling you about my experience, and not the management of Barry’s Pizza. A disaster.
Benefit from Conquering Liars with Enchantment
I’ve learned that the best way to treat a client is to give them everything.
Had I been the owner of Barry’s Pizza, knowing that I’m better off with repeat customers, I would have done everything I could to enchant this new face. I would have ensured that the customer was happy, asked if they wanted to try another kind of pizza, offered a free beer to ease the pain of the experience with the seemingly cheap taco meat substance, and brought out a small order of wings to make sure the customer didn’t go anywhere else to eat. Unfortunately for them, I lied by withholding the severity of my complaint, and (Frank) didn’t bother probing.
Probing Dishonest or “Shakey” Customers
What can we do enhance your experience?
What can we do to ensure that you visit us again?
What can I do to make sure that you continue to do business with us?
Those are the types of questions that a concerned professional should ask customers that seem shakey. Simply asking those kind of questions alone will add to a customer’s or client’s comfort level, letting them consciously know that your door is always open and welcoming of their critique.
Customers highly value businesses that treat them as people, rather than stats, and tend to patronize businesses out of loyalty rather than quality of service. The goal here is earn loyalty by addressing customer’s service woes while improving your quality of service based on those woes. Or, in other words, creating long term benefits from a bad situation.
SPECIAL NOTE: This essay isn’t intended to serve as a negative for Barry’s Pizza, it’s a great place to eat. Just don’t order the beef. Keep in mind that the point of this essay is to demonstrate new methods of customer retention while exploiting some of the other benefits that are locked away in unhappy customers, granted that they’re brutally honest or can be detected.