Dumb Comment From Someone Who Should Know Better

Serving tasteful food, selective focus, canon 1Ds mark IIIThis Italian restaurant lost six customers at our table after the server made a comment that surprised everyone.

Before this happened, I never personally experienced what effect trashing the competition could have on listeners.

Now I know.

This is what happened:

As we were placing our orders, someone at our table (Tony) mentioned the pasta he was ordering looked like the same pasta he had eaten at Macaroni Grill.

Our server at __________’s restaurant volunteered that she had been to Macaroni Grill the week before and the food and service was “terrible.”

Tony did not ask the server’s opinion, so why did she volunteer her opinion?

Hard to know but it made me stop and think.

It is never good to trash competitors because it leaves a negative impression with customers.

But it IS okay to criticize the competition when the CUSTOMER brings up the name of the competitor and asks questions about the differences between your company and the competitor’s company.

That is what happened recently.

I called my Internet service provider to check out different “bundles” and see if a better price was available for Internet, TV and digital land line telephone services.

(One company has been my provider for many years but another business is offering what sounds like a very low price for the “bundle.”)

After I told Vanessa what her competitor was offering, she said something surprising, so I – at first – did not know whether or not to believe her.

Knowledge about the competitor makes the difference

Vanessa explained the reasons for the price differences between her company and the competitor.

What she told me turned out to be verifiable; I called her competitor to make sure of the facts.

The price differences and extra fees were not included in the beautiful mailer I received from her competitor.

Like extra charges for each cable box and hidden monthly fees for technical telephone assistance.

With everything added together, the “low price” bundle offered by the other Internet service provider was not really a bargain.

Is a competitor trying to undercut you?

Find out exactly what your competitor’s price includes, because as in my experience there are often “extra fees” or hidden charges that your competitor may not have mentioned.

Business Lost

The thoughtless comment made by this otherwise professional server at ______________’s restaurant lost future business for that restaurant.