G.O. For Change

Changing people, places, and things one blog at a time…

The MUTUAL in Mutual Funds: Investing in your Relationships

with 2 comments

Over the weekend, my family and I had a bad dining experience. My lovely wife is a huge fan of diner-style restaurants- whether they are pretty well known (perhaps they were on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” on the Food Network), or  small places that only certain people know about, she scours city magazines for places to visit. She informed me of this restaurant that was recently on the aforementioned television show. She was excited about its history, and looked forward to going. We went, and while the food was great (really great, even though my steak was “well done”, when a food connoisseur like myself only orders “medium”), the service has horrible-the waitress was not attentive; she didn’t check on us, refill our drinks, and when it was obvious that another waitress took our order sitting on the counter, and gave it to someone else, she didn’t even apologize to us, but rather act as though she didn’t understand what just happened.

While waiter/waitress issues aren’t uncommon, I do rely on the managers/owners to alleviate any issues I have. This doesn’t mean simply taking money off of my bill, but actually making me feel as if you are apologetic about the situation.  This was the critical failure in this situation. When I spoke to the manager, he made me feel this wasn’t that big of a deal. Unfortunately these issues ruined our dining experience, and we will not return.

As I drove home, I thought of the entire situation. I really was upset at the care this popular diner felt was acceptable. While I am in no means in the top 1%, I do spend a significant amount of money on food. I really was baffled at the lack attention that our server gave us, considering our tips fund her salary, and at the manager’s response, given that word of mouth communication can make or break a business. I wondered how many others received sub-par service, but because of the good food, came back. The lack of investment on this particular diner’s part, has led me not to invest time and money on my part.

So how can we better invest in relationships (both professionally & business)? Glad you asked! As a business owner, and a person who values relationships, here are a couple of my components that I hold dear:

1. Communication: Communication is the KEY TO ANY SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP!  Whether it’s between friends or business associates, or you and a fast food restaurant, say what you mean to say, articulate appropriately, and be prepared to answer questions. Too many people leave the communication up to text messages, emails, and twitter posts. For example: a friend of mine stated that a guy informed her that he was interested in her, but only communicated through a text message, never calling her. Some of us even call out sick from work via text! I have spent years perfecting my “sick voice” when I am calling out, and it will be a cold day in hell before I give that up! Back in the diner, I informed the manager that my order arrived much later than I expected it to. His response: “your steak was cooked longer because it was bigger (as it should be), and it took more time to cook than other steak meals.” While I understood that, don’t you think my server should have communicated the message, rather than from the manager, BEFORE I was upset?

2. Honoring expectations: I own an entertainment company. While I deal with a lot of clients, I make sure that I am meeting their expectations (and   exceeding them). Unfortunately, perhaps this diner has become cocky after receiving a lot of attention from the television shows and magazine articles, and has forgotten that the customer is number one. In relationships, make sure expectations aren’t misconstrued. When a client hires me, we sit down, go over questions, what they need, and at the end of our conversation, they sign a contract. The contract isn’t a huge, but it spells out what my responsibilities are, as well as what the client’s responsibilities. This way, there are not any problems. If you are dating, or exclusive with someone, you should ABSOLUTELY inform the person (or persons) of your expectations prior to engaging in any activity; this allows all parties involved to know what they are getting into, and decide whether to, or not continue. If you want to wait 90 days before having sex, (via “Think Like a Man”) great, but inform the person  of your decision, and be prepared to have them walk away if they aren’t willing to come to terms, which brings me to my next point:

  3. Holding on to your expectations: To be honest, because of the good food (even though the food was overcooked), I STILL wanted to return and try again. My wife immediately stated that we were never going to return, because there is good food elsewhere. She was ABSOLUTELY correct! The reason? If I returned, I am, in a way, condoning the behavior to continue. Its one thing to return for a second chance if you feel that the behavior will be corrected, however if it compromises your expectations, you should not. As my wife put it, returning back just because of the good food, but the service is horrible, is the equivalent of “remaining in an abusive relationship because the sex is good” (reread that). She was right, and you know what would happen, if I returned, and we received the same crappy service? I would be angry; not at the diner, but MYSELF.

4.Honoring your relationships: Look, being married has led me know certain things, and one being- it’s not the BIG things you do, but it’s the small things that really matter. Of course your significant other expects gifts on his/her birthday, and other holidays, but what about a gift just because it is a Saturday? On Facebook, I have made it a point to recognize other business owners, and promote them. Do I need to? Not really, but because they do great work, and they are great business owners, why WOULDN’T These business owners are professional, courteous, and do great work, AND they promote me, which honors our relationship. In the diner situation, the server could have been better, as well as the owner could have been better, but they weren’t. Hopefully the next diner will. As always thanks for reading.


Ps. Always order your steak cooked “medium”, it makes the chef have to work on it.

P.P.S. I took my family out to dinner yesterday, and the waitress was AWESOME; she made sure my family was taken care of, was courteous, professional, and kind. In addition to giving her a nice tip, I spoke with her manager, and informed her of the great service I experienced.  Perhaps the other restaurant should take notes.

P.P.P.S Check out Troy Speights, www.precisecutlawnservice.com for all your lawn care needs, and Lisa Fleet @ www.glamorousdivas.com for all your photograph needs). We have worked together for a while, and they are awesome in what they do!


2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the plug…. As you stated Communication is always they key. If the waiter was attentive she would have known that your food was not out yet allowing her go check on its status. This would have prevented type food from going to another table, she would have known your drink was empty, and known that your steak was not cooked correct. But like tippy said communication its the key. Communication will make or break any situation.

    Troy Speights

    May 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm

  2. Thanks so much Garry. As always love the blog posts. Great read and informative.


    May 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm

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