A Tale of Two Diners

By
Real Estate Agent with Remax Town & Country 280313
https://activerain.com/droplet/4sZb

For the Love of Coffee:  A Lesson in Customer Service.

A few days ago I met a friend for coffee at a local diner. I arrived early and the hostess offered me a seat. I leisurely drank my coffee and checked my email, when a message popped up saying "I'm inside." Glancing to my left and right, I confirmed what I already knew: I was at the wrong diner.

Coffee CupI flagged down the waitress, told her my friend wasn't coming and that I needed to settle the bill. "Don't worry about it," she said, as she could see that my early had just turned to late. I left a full cup of coffee and a grateful tip and was on my way.

Once I arrived, I realized I had never been to this diner and could not believe that it was my recommendation! I apoligized for the mixup and we quickly got into conversation. 

Our waitress showed up and asked what we wanted to order. We had not looked at our menus and both responded that we were just going to have coffee for now.  With eyebrows raised and mouth agape, our waitress responed "So, you're not going to order anything? Well, ok..." She shuffled away in obvious disappointment. We looked at each other in disbelief. Did she just do that?!? About twenty minutes later, we decided to order some breakfast. We had a lot to catch up on, so we ate, drank more coffee and chatted away for about another hour.

He's not Checking In on Us, He's Making us Check Out!

In about another twenty minutes, the owner stopped at our table. We thought he was coming to check in on us. No. He came to tell us it was time for us to leave! Did we just land in some kind of long lost Seinfeld episode?  Was John Quinones hiding behind the dishes ready to jump out saying "What would you do?" Who ever heard of being bounced out of a diner?

He went on to say that he has time limits on his tables and we had exceeded ours. We looked around this diner of empy booths and shook our heads. My friend retorted audibly "I'll never come to this place again." 

As we dutifully put on our coats, the waitress, seeming weak from the whole experience, rolled her eyes and in a nasaly voice said "thank you ladies, we really appreciate your business." Really? "You do? "Did we do something wrong?" I thought. "You're welcome," I said with a forced smile; my friend had one foot already out the door.

Great Service Does't Cost Much. Bad Service Costs a Lot!

These two experiences, being back to back, led to my tale of two diners. For the cost of a cup of coffee, the first waitress let me go guilt free, leaving me with a good, lasting impression of her and the diner. I will certainly return. The automony she exercised to make that call probably came from the top. Likewise with the behavior of the second waitress.

The second diner lost a lifetime of sales from me, my friend and potential sales from others. We are always talking about networking; that second diner could have become our monthly meeting place. Not now. Pardon the pun, but they really left a bad taste in our mouths.

I know this isn't a new concept, but the experience caused me to reflect on a good lesson: leave your sour grapes at home! Complain to your spouse, friend or colleague, but don't show people how disappointed you are when you are not the one to get the listing, have your contract accepted or experience any other negative event.

If you lost a listing, thank the seller for their time and consideration. If they interviewed more than one agent, it was likely a difficult decision for them. Ask them why they didn't choose you or what you could have done differently to earn their business. Wish them good luck and move on; let them go without the guilt trip!

You are Your Brand.

I have been given second chances when I wasn't the first realtor hired or my buyer's offer wasn't accepted. I've also been in the position to go back to a buyer's agent when the first offer didn't work out. It's quite natural to make the first calls to the agents who bowed out gracefully than the ones who gave you a hard time.

As I write this I think about times in the past where I wasn't on my best behavior. I wish I could go back and change what I said or how I said it. But I've learned. The real estate industry-and life-has many ups and downs. We are being tested daily. More than our marketing materials, head shots or our mastery of real estate data, our everyday actions are the calling cards we leave behind. When we think about a career vs. a single sale, it is our actions that will differentiate us from our competitors in the long run.

So, before you react to your next disappointment, take a deep breath, count to ten and think about the tale of two diners!

Happy Selling!

 

Posted by

____________________________________________________________________________________

Are you loooking to buy a home, sell a home or invest in real estate in Delaware or Chester counties?   

Call me to get started!  

 

Pamela Cloud

Office: 610-675-1000

Cell: 484-883-8231

www.pamcloud.com

                                   RE/MAX Town & Country                              

 
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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Paul McFadden 01/22/2014 06:15 AM
  2. Bob Crane 02/02/2014 09:18 AM
Topic:
Just for Fun
Tags:
customer service
personal branding

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Rainer
177,117
Cheryl Dukes . . . . . Intown Atlanta
Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA

Good story Pamela. I just had an experience where we lost out on the offer. I called the listing agent and thanked her and asked her to keep us in mind if the deal fell through. It did. She called me. We got the house and we closed. She told me there were other offers, but she appreciated my professionalism so she called me first. In a sea of people like the ones at your second diner, the ones who are polite and professional will stand out and get the business. Great lesson!

Jan 22, 2014 11:35 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,560,756
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I have never, EVER, heard of time limits as a diner.  Geez, I spend countless hours at the coffee shop and I just ordered $1.35 cup of java . . . nothing else.  I never get hustled out.  Great article about the difference you experienced.

Jan 22, 2014 01:28 PM #23
Rainer
71,872
Pamela Cloud
Remax Town & Country - West Chester, PA
Serving the southwestern suburbs of Philadelphia

Thank you all for your comments and kind words! It sounds like we've all had this experience at one time or another. As I look back it's almost funny and Gina, the whole writing experience did provoke some introspection. A colleague of mine used to say "when you point your finger at someone you're pointing three at yourself!, " so I alwasy keep that in mind.

I'm just glad it happened with someone who already knows and trusts me. Devin, my friend said the same thing about social media. I would never post their name publicly on-line but people still talk. Rob & Cheryl, glad you experienced the upside of the second chance!

Jan 22, 2014 08:01 PM #24
Rainmaker
3,737,686
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Pamela. This is so tough to read because the analogy does hold. In whatever world we exist, it is possible to chose service and kindness. When it doesn't happen, it is just sad. Suggested.

Jan 22, 2014 08:46 PM #25
Rainer
71,872
Pamela Cloud
Remax Town & Country - West Chester, PA
Serving the southwestern suburbs of Philadelphia

Thank you Sheila!

Jan 23, 2014 10:11 AM #26
Ambassador
3,683,001
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Pamela! I included this post in today's Last Week's Favorites.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Jan 25, 2014 10:39 PM #27
Rainmaker
2,138,152
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

What a difference!  This place has much to learn about customer satisfaction and establishing a good reputation!

Jan 25, 2014 10:47 PM #28
Rainer
71,872
Pamela Cloud
Remax Town & Country - West Chester, PA
Serving the southwestern suburbs of Philadelphia

Patricia, I am new to blogging on AR so this means alot! Thank you. Sharon, thank you for your comment as well!

Jan 25, 2014 11:12 PM #29
Rainmaker
562,051
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

You are so right!  Bad customer service costs a lot!  

I had similar sort of experience w/ 2 places in a row...I had to leave the first place as they were sooooo rude.  The next place was night and day.  I left yelp reviews for both, a nice tip for the 2nd one and a nice blog post for the 2nd one and mentioned the nice waitresses's name.

 - Debbie

Jan 25, 2014 11:25 PM #30
Rainmaker
1,675,429
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi Pamela, One a nice note, we were eating dinner with our elderly aunt and uncle at a well known restaurant and I know that we overstayed or visit in our lengthy discussions trying to catch up on life.  The manager came up to our table at didn't tell us to leave, but gave us a $5.00 off coupon on our next meal.  We got the hint and left, but he a very tactful in how he did it. We didn't mind and would return.

Jan 26, 2014 12:35 AM #31
Rainer
405,683
Brad MacKenzie
Brad MacKenzie - Duxbury, MA
Turning Houses into Homes on the South Shore

Crazy. Sometimes it's hard to have a good attitude, but it is contagious if you pull yourself up to it.

Jan 26, 2014 01:14 AM #32
Rainmaker
660,215
Tanya Van Blake-Coleman
Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com - St Thomas, VI
Improving the Quality of Your Life

Graciousness cost you nothing and often gets you a lot further. A good life's lesson.

Jan 26, 2014 08:53 AM #33
Rainmaker
1,317,651
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Great Service Does't Cost Much. Bad Service Costs a Lot! - I couldn't agree with you more!  I had a bad experience at a Japanese restaurant and I told EVERYONE I knew.

Jan 26, 2014 11:11 AM #34
Rainmaker
1,489,714
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

What a wonderful tale to share.   You are right, bad service is very expensive -- I can't believe they kicked you out!   That's just ridiculous.

Jan 27, 2014 03:03 AM #35
Ambassador
4,441,635
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Great post Pamela, we always compliment our prospects for hiring A forester even if it is not us, and let them know that there is anything that we can do for them in the future to feel free to call.  And sometimes they do.

Jan 27, 2014 04:32 AM #36
Ambassador
1,931,562
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh my gosh, I can't even imagine this happening to you. What a perfect analogy to remind us of the importance of not only, first impressions, but of customer service. Can't believe anyone would kick you out  - especially without a line of customers waiting for tables.

Feb 03, 2014 08:21 AM #37
Ambassador
1,931,562
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh my gosh, I can't even imagine this happening to you. What a perfect analogy to remind us of the importance of not only, first impressions, but of customer service. Can't believe anyone would kick you out  - especially without a line of customers waiting for tables.

Feb 03, 2014 08:21 AM #38
Rainer
71,872
Pamela Cloud
Remax Town & Country - West Chester, PA
Serving the southwestern suburbs of Philadelphia

Thanks guys! Now that I have some distance from the event, when I think back on it, it really was like a Seingfeld episode or some type of joke--that's how hard it was to believe!!  Thanks for reading.

Feb 03, 2014 08:17 PM #39
Rainmaker
304,200
Tammy Adams ~ Realtor / Podcaster
Maricopa Real Estate Co - Maricopa, AZ
A Maricopa Agent who Works, Lives & Loves Maricopa

Excellent example of customer service!! I've been in customer service my whole life and one thing I love is a great customer service story!!!!

Jul 10, 2014 01:49 PM #40
Rainer
71,872
Pamela Cloud
Remax Town & Country - West Chester, PA
Serving the southwestern suburbs of Philadelphia

Thanks for you comment, Tammy, and thank you for reading! Have a great weekend!

Jul 10, 2014 10:54 PM #41
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