A Stupid Thing to Say

Hi ,

 “Customer service is a cost” is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

 It’s not a cost… It’s a King and Queen investment in one.

“Yeah Yeah …. We’ve heard that a million times. 
 But I need to focus on the bottom line so I can feed my kids.”

 So what happens when a company focuses solely on the bottom line and ignores the customer experience? 

 My experience in 2009 with a Greek Food Restaurant in Dubai shows what happens.

 When it opened, it was pretty authentic.  Even down to the clay bowls that came with the Avgolemeno soup and the experienced waitstaff that was brought in specifically from Europe.

 We loved it.  

We went back again….. and then again….. 

In the next three weeks we probably went close to 10 times.

I began talking about it to my clients and co-workers.

“you need to go and try this place”


One Monday my boss asked me to call the owner to set up a dinner for Friday for him and his family coming in from out of town. 

Two of my clients who heard about the other client’s experience called me and I arranged for them to go Saturday. 

The next Monday my boss came to me and told me I had the worst taste in restaurants, and that he and his family had the worst experience possible.  The waitstaff was useless, the food was cold, and half was never delivered.


I was dumbfounded.  

I asked the clients how their dinner on Saturday went.. 

They told me I was an idiot…


I went back to the restaurant that evening and it wasn’t the same place.

  • The cook was gone 
  • The waitstaff were gone.
  • Everyone was new.
  •  The owners didn’t even come say hello.
  •  The food came and the bread was microwaved.  The Clay pots were replaced with cheap bowls and the food quality and quantity were both down (while the prices were raised).

 I left and never went back.

 The owners thought they launched a winner and they could make some “cost savings” around the staff, food, and overall experience to double profits.  

It didn’t work out that way..

Soon they were desperate. They threw Russian theme nights (yeah there is no real connection there as the two cuisines have little in common). 

The chairs remained empty and no one went inside. 

Finally, they tried to sell but with falling sales and customers having abandoned them, they never found anyone. The last I saw of their restaurant were notices of liquidation put on the windows.

 I’ve never forgotten this lesson they paid dearly to show us.

 How important it is to deliver a superior customer experience.

 Ignore your customer experience and focus solely on profits at your own risk. You might have some short-term wins, but in the long run, it will catch up to you. 

Customers will start to notice when they’re not being treated well and will take their business elsewhere. Negative reviews can spread like wildfire, and before you know it, your profits and business can go down the toilet.

And if you look to exit… a buyer and investor will see what happened and go elsewhere. 

You may end up saving a dollar but losing a million.

I’d rather you invest a dollar and gain a million.

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