How Bad Service Can Be Good Business
There's a restaurant in Waco, Texas that has such poor service that I wonder why we ever go back.
But we do. Repeatedly!
Have you ever eaten at a place like that?
Sometimes bad service can be good business.
Let me explain.
When I was in college, my friend Michael and I would frequent Bangkok Royal, a locally owned Thai restaurant near campus.
I'd order an L4 – Chaing Mai Garlic with a Thai Tea. If I knew then what I know now, I would have added the Thai Dumplings to my order too.
During lunch, Michael and I could get in and out in 45 minutes for about $12.
We knew when we walked into the restaurant who our server would be, what we would order, and how much it would cost.
Every time we'd get the same meals, same level of service, and same level of enjoyment out of our lunch.
Our waiter barely talked to us and when he did, he spoke so quietly we could barely hear him.
When he brought our food, he wouldn't say much – just dropping the plates off at the table and shuffling off back to wherever he came from.
After we finished our lunches, which were delicious, he'd swoop in, pick up our plates and whisper something we assumed was, “Can I get you anything else?”
When we said “no”, he'd tear off our hand-written checks, leave them on the tablecloth, and shuffle back to wherever he came from.
Michael and I would pay, we'd leave, and talk about when we could come back again!
This waiter was never actually bad. He was never rude, never in a bad mood and treated everyone the same.
While Bangkok Royal isn't a 5-Star restaurant, it's still one of my favorites. Every time we're in Waco, I remember how fun it was to eat there with my friend and I can even smell the Chaing Mai Garlic in the air.
Businesses can learn a lot from this small restaurant in Waco, Texas. And I can learn a great deal from it too.
You see, consistency is key. Your customers, clients, readers, etc., should get a consistent experience every time they work with you.
And if you train people, whether they directly interact with customers or not, train them all the same.
I know, I know, people are each unique, but if your customers are getting a “unique” experience every time they do business with you, they'll uniquely walk out the door.
What Michael and I loved about BR, and even joked about over many a Thai Tea, is that we knew exactly what we were going to get. Exactly.
No variation, no guessing.
But here's the key: Bangkok Royal served some of the best Thai food we'd ever eaten.
If you deliver consistent service, even if it's bare-bones, but consistently deliver a high-quality product, your customers will keep coming back to you.
Or at least I will.
While high-quality services is awesome, if it's not always high-quality, I'll stop coming around.
When Bad Service Can Be Good Business
If you're delivering a product or service that's predictable, you'll find and dominate your niche.
Not every product has to be the caviar or filet mignon of your given area. If that were the case, McDonald's would have closed shop years ago.
But companies like Bangkok Royal succeed because they're always delivering value where it counts – without fail.
Now, had the service been poor and the food been bad, Michael and I would have never returned.
But BR always gave us what we were looking for and delivered where we wanted them too.
It's better to have consistently poor service than to have good service that's hit or miss.
And that's how bad service can be good business.
Question: How do you provide a consistent level of service?