Rich and I just returned from a wonderful one-month adventure in Italy, France and Spain. Part of our trip included a 7-day river cruise in France. At lunch one day, I ordered an item from the menu, and after several minutes noticed that others at our table were getting their lunch while I was still waiting. I started asking our waiter what was happening, and he responded, “It will be ready in just a minute.”
We had an appointment following the lunch, so I was getting more and more concerned as I waited. And still I was told it was coming right up. Finally, about 10 minutes before we had to leave, he brought my lunch and said the kitchen had a little trouble with this particular entrée.
I had gotten to know the waiter a little and I called him over and said, “I wish you would have told me when things weren’t going right and given me my options of waiting for a while to get what I had ordered or switching to something else to get faster service.” He thanked me and I could see by the expression on his face that he understood what I had described.
Later, I went and talked to the person in charge of the dining room service and related what had happened (though I was careful not to identify the waiter). As a customer, I told the supervisor that I wanted to know what was going on and be given my choices. She thanked me very sincerely, and the next day came over to tell me that she had passed this on to the entire wait staff.
This incident is a metaphor for many situations where something goes wrong with an order, and instead of explaining what’s happening at the very beginning, a choice is made to simply continue on and hope things work out before the customer gets too impatient.
As the title says however, honesty is the best policy. People want to be told when there is a problem and allowed to make a choice that will best resolve the situation.
(Note: If you’d like to know more about the trip adventure, visit my Facebook page or send me a request for our itinerary – Carolyn Tamler).