Training that is bad for your business?

Importance of Customer Service

Importance of Customer Service

I went for lunch recently in one of Cork’s well-known eateries which is known for great food, fantastic service and friendly staff. They have built up a really strong brand over the years and despite the economic down-turn, seem to be perpetually busy. I won’t name names; they do not come out of this well.

While waiting to be seated, I stood holding my tray and the proprietor came up followed by, it has to be said, an extremely timid looking member of staff. She was clearly being trained in and, as this was the lunch-time rush, was probably feeling the pressure. She offered to take my tray, was really friendly and I would have left the restaurant a satisfied customer had the following not occurred.

There may have been twelve to fifteen people in the general area at the time when the owner of the establishment turned around and publicly berated the girl for some minor mistake. This wasn’t a quick slap on the wrist, done with discretion; this was a humiliating dressing-down which, quite frankly, could have waited until later. I was mortified for the girl in question and, in typical Irish fashion, felt I had to be extra nice to her so she wouldn’t feel worthless or, God forbid, start crying (another Irish trait; I don’t deal well with emotional outbursts).

As somebody who worked in the service industry, and was an appalling waitress, I was really angry on her behalf. There were many occasions I’m sure that I deserved to be given out to and I was, but in a discreet and fair manner. Nobody deserves to be spoken to like that, so vociferously and so publicly. It was a hurtful, stinging rebuke and made customers who heard it quite uncomfortable.

The first lesson I learned about PR was “People do business with people first and with businesses second”. On the strength of that encounter, I’m not entirely certain that I would return to a place where I now suspect the staff are smiling manically at me because there is a threat of death-by-hanging on their lunch break. It takes many years to build a good brand and, in that respect, this business owner must be doing something right however I would be loath to support a business who doesn’t appear to appreciate their staff or who instils a culture of fear in order to generate results.

Kerrie O’Callaghan works in PR with Fuzion Communications

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6 Responses to “Training that is bad for your business?”

  1. natasha lynch Says:

    fab blog kerrie!!! well done!! there is nothing more disgusting than that sort of behaviour by a boss.

  2. John Says:

    And another Irish trait is that we don’t complain!!! You haven’t complained to the manager, meanwhile that person probably still gets berated by the manager, the manager doesn’t know that his business may be getting harmed and you may not get back to your favorite lunch place. A no-win situation. Blogging makes it easier for us Irish to continue in this fashion, gives us some relief that we’ve done good?

    • kerrieocallaghan Says:


      You’re dead right. I didn’t complain there and then, which I should have done. Those who know me will tell you I’d never normally hold back on pointing out when a person is wrong but I did feel I might make more of the situation if I caused a scene. I may write a letter of complaint to make up for my inaction on the day..!

    • Greg Canty Says:

      thanks John for the comments.

      You leave yourself open to a really stressful situation when you complain at times and just vote with your feet next time!

      “How come we aren’t as busy as we used to be” The Manager asks – I wonder?


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