It all started with a hair in my enchiladas. Actually it didn’t start there. It started when we walked in the door.
We were told our wait time was twenty minutes. Fourtyfive minutes later our hostess was kindly ushering us to our table.
That’s where it all started.
The perfect storm hit and we were taken for a ride. Once seated our waitress came to greet us. She must have been having a bad day or something because she put her hands on her hips and snarled when she talked. She rambled on about her personal life and took way to long to bring us drinks and take our order. Her cruise control was set on forty and our baby was in the fast lane burning rubber. Have you ever seen a nine month old screaming in a restaurant?
By the time our food came we were near the point of walking out and sure enough, with long happy shimmers of split ends, stood a hair follicle starring me in the face.
After a short scolding, the manager brought us our check. But there was yet another problem, it was the wrong check. Apparently the waitress failed to keep track and charged us for sopapilla’s we didn’t order.
We’ve all been there. That place where if something is supposed to go wrong it does.
This story is actually entirely made up. Truthfully it’s an experience I had recently all from the view point of… the manager.
It’s extremely rare when things go so wrong there is nothing you can say or do to fix the situation, but we recently had one (similar to the fake restaurant story) and it was not pretty. As the leader I was called in to visit with the customer about the issue. I learned a valuable lesson that day.
Sometimes people just want you to listen.
It’s something we don’t do enough of with our clients, our children, our wives or husbands, we don’t listen to one another.
I learned so much by not saying a word and just listening. I learned what was broken and immediately made changes to fix it. I learned how to handle a situation like this if it were to come up again. I learned when there is a problem, it’s better to do something verses nothing and just think it’s going to all “work out”.
What started off as a “45 minute wait” turned in to a week long dirge. I failed.
Like Henry Ford says, I walked away from the experience wiser. We all make mistakes from time to time and this one I now realize could have been remedied a number of different ways.
You may be wondering about the customer. At the end of the day we took care of them as best we could, admitted our faults and prayed for forgiveness.
Leaders fail. Good leaders pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes and get on with it.