When service fails, express your ‘sorry’ genuinely

We had a two-day Training Summit in this hotel called, Gallery Hotel (in Singapore).  It’s branded itself as a boutique hotel. A small hotel, it won a Tourism Award from Singapore Tourist Board in Year 2006 for being the finest boutique hotel.  The design and the layout of the furniture and fittings are pretty cool.  It’s service – well, I’m particularly pleased with this guy called, Emil.  Let me explain…

It was lunch time.  And we had what we called semi-buffet; meaning, we have a main course plus a mini-buffet spread.  Emil came along and took my order of ‘salmon with sweet mustard’ for the main course.  that done, I proceeded to have the mini-buffet.

The trouble started when my order was kind-of mixed up with a couple of other orders.  The lamb chop came to me, and I nicely told them that I did not place request.  Soon after, I found myself waiting, albeit patiently, for the next twenty minutes, at least, for my salmon.

Emil soon discovered that my order wasn’t met, when I raised it up to him.  He went to the kitchen, and promptly came back to tell me that there was a mixed up.  Besides apologising very genuinely, he immediately asked if there was anything he could do for me.  Sensing his genuineness, I told him that it was okay and I would wait just for the salmon.  Soon after, he came personally to bring me the salmon, and again apologised for the delay.  He certainly made me quite happy that I was being ‘taken care of’.

Now, after the lunch, just as I was to leave for my Summit session, he came to me again, and said, “I am sorry to have upset your lunch.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do.”

Emil certainly knows what it means to restore customers’ confidence when a service failure occurs.  His efforts will surely goes a long way to bring his customers back to the restaurant.  So, what did he do.  It was simple – He expressed, not just in words, but also in his facial expression, that he was sorry.  He was willing to bear the responsibility, and not pushed the blame to his colleagues who mised up the orders.  He was ready to recover that service failure with something that he could do to help me feel better.  To him, it’s customer-first attitude.  Kudos to you, Emil!


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