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The radio announcer on my local station was discussing a story that caught my attention.

It was about a woman who was out entertaining clients at a restaurant and at the end of the night she tipped the waiter $175 instead of the $75 she had intended to.

She realized the mistake the next day and contacted the restaurant. The restaurant said that there was nothing that they could do – the tip was already entered and paid out.

Now for people that have been following my newsletters or have gone through my Profit Generator Program there are so many issues with this scenario (long term value of a client, client retention, front stage/ back stage to name a few!).

But for me this story also demonstrates an interesting point – you can be right, or you can have results. Often you can’t have both!

The restaurant was determined that they were right. And really there were! The woman did write down $175 tip on the bill. They had already processed payment and paid the tip to the waiter and staff.

However this restaurant was now being discussed on a major radio stations morning show.  And not in a good way!

Plus the customer was angry. I’m sure she felt foolish, and you can bet not only will she never go to that restaurant again, she is actively telling other people about her experience (it is now on the radio!).

So what were the end results for the restaurant?

They got to keep the extra $100 (paid out in tips). They didn’t have the inconvenience of processing a credit card reversal and sorting out how to handle the tip payback.

And they got to be right!

What else could they have done?

Apologized to the client, and let her know they would sort out how to handle it and get back to her? Offer her a credit for a future dinner if they really felt that they couldn’t reverse the $100?

Many, many options.

I would also have recommended the restaurant have a meeting with their servers to discuss the situation – how to watch for it and prevent it in the future.

In this case the $75 tip was a generous tip. $175 was over the top. How about having the servers watch for overly excessive tips and confirm the amount with the customer (in a non-intrusive and appreciative way) before processing?

In my opinion, this restaurant was missing the big picture. For a $100 discrepancy they lost a client and generated a lot of bad press.

They had an opportunity to turn a customer with a complaint into a raving fan.

They were focused on being right rather than paying attention to the desired result.

This same dynamic is happening everywhere! With customers, with staff, with family and friends.

The moment you are focused and adamant about being right, you are probably missing the big picture. You may be winning the battle but losing the war.

This is a great topic to discuss with your team. What are some of the issues or regular complaints that your customers have with your business?

For example a customer complaining because a stain didn’t come out of their carpet – even through you explained ahead of time that the stain may not completely come out.

Think about different ways to handle this other than making the customer wrong – “We told you in the audit before we started cleaning this stain may not completely come out”.

What result were they looking for? What result would you like to accomplish?

The opportunities to choose results over being right often come in the form of a complaint.

A great resource for effectively handling complaints is a book by Janelle Barlow “A Complaint is a Gift”. Click here to read a summary with the Complaint is a Gift Formula.

If the focus is on you – it becomes positional and only one person can be right (and no one likes to be wrong!).

You can be right, or you can produce results – choose!


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