Running a restaurant can be really fulfilling. People eat your food, they drink wine, they enjoy the food and themselves. Usually, it comes with great pleasure to provide people with a lovely experience in your restaurant. But sometimes you do everything possible in your capabilities, and you and your staff do your best, and the customer is just rude. They are rude that you might consider spitting in their food, to just get some positive feeling out of their visit.
But encountering a rude customer can be a benefit to you and your staff. It gives you a chance to test your customer service skills and most of all your patience. So do not spit in their drink but treat them with calm and respect and sometimes the rudeness might even disappear.
Before you give up on them, you might consider those 5 tips, and you will see how your faith might turn.
Tip 1 – Be polite and show empathy
Sometimes a guest is rude because he or she is going through a rough time or because they are having a bad day. Their anger might now be directed against you and the waiters in your restaurant, but they just happen to be there. Apologise for things, even if they might not be your fault and treat the customer with respect. With a little bit of luck and enough empathy, you might be able to turn their frown upside down.
Tip 2 – Provide them with solutions
Sometimes a rude customer just wants to feel special. And even if it might hurt you to give in at the moment, it might save you some bad reputations for offering them something. A voucher for the next meal, a drink or appetizer on the house or some other compensations could work miracles.
Your ego might feel a bit hurt at the time because nobody likes to give in to bully. But having a 5-star review on Google, Facebook and Tripadvisor might be worth more than giving away a free drink to someone, even if he might not deserve it a 100%.
Coming up with a solution for their issue for whatever might upset them can shift their mood, and a rude guest could be less offensive if they feel that you try to come if a customised solution for them.
Tip 3 – Know when to step in
Many rude guests might ask for the manager. Train your staff on how to deal with those situations and on when to call their supervisor or even you. Although it might help to de-escalate some situations to bring in a manager, others are better solved by the waiter. Usually, the customer does that to get the waiter into trouble, so it is essential to stick together in those situations and do not give your waiter a hard time in front of the customers. If he or she really did something wrong, give them their lecture after the customer left. It is the more professional way, and it will help to dominate the situation with rude clients.
Tip 4 – Listen to their complaints
We tend to shut down when someone is rude to us. But it might help to actually listen to your rude guest to handle their situation better. Also, it might even improve your service and some things you have not thought about your restaurant yet. Showing them that you make an effort can help a lot with their mood and complaints.
Tip 5 – Know what to and what you should not do!
That might be the most important tip. Make sure that you and your staff are aware of how to deal with a rude customer. Being rude to them does not solve any problems and might lead to bad reviews. It can also be taken very poorly by the other guests in your restaurant. You have to show them and the rude customer, that you are handling those situations professionally.
Also, make sure to keep those encounters private and do not post about them on social media. You can talk about the rude guest with your staff and colleagues but do not complain about it social media. Your potential new guests that look your restaurant up online do not want to hear does kind of stories, and it would look peculiar to them. Keep positive vibes in your restaurant and on social media. Hiring a social media expert like the Napkin can help you in those situations.
And the most important one is: do not let rude customers bring you down! It is hard to deal with a rude person, but do not allow that to interfere with your mood and the way you handle the next customer. The rude person will soon be gone and what be will be left in the end can be a funny anecdote.
And there is an upside to having rude customers from time to time. In a 2017 Study by Henkel et al. it was shown, that other customers tend to show more sympathy when they witness rude clients. They will notice when someone yells at your staff and is rude for no reason. And empathy might even lead to tips and recommendations. It will make them oversee some flaws and might lead to a happier experience.
In a nutshell, rude customers can be a great way to test your patience, and it is the perfect opportunity to prove how you and your staff handle uncomfortable situations. Do not let them define your business and try to prevent reasons to upset them.
You will figure out your style for handling rude guest for sure!