Just Blink and Your Customer is Gone

We have four “neighborhood” restaurants nearby that historically have had good food and are convenient to get to.
So it is interesting that we have now had three bad meals in a row at three of them accompanied by a drop in service and even some cleanliness. Not coincidentally, the crowds are thinning so they are in a classic death spiral.  
Needless to say they are off our list, and usually when you see this kind of drop off in quality, you see the restaurant close soon thereafter, so we will see. 
Meanwhile the fourth restaurant is maintaining its quality of food and service and is more robust than ever.
We have all experienced this and it is a good lesson relative to our own businesses. 
There is a razor’s edge between providing good quality products and great service and starting to compromise to shave costs here and there.
A phone call that takes longer to return. A reduction of staff resulting in overworked service people who translate the stress to our customers.
And here is the most dangerous thing of all . . .
Even if one of these restaurants decides to hire some better chefs or go back to buying a better grade of meat/fish/vegetables . . . they have lost us for good . . . or at least for a good long time, because they have broken trust with us. Or they are going to have to spend WAY more to try to get us back.
As salespeople and business owners obsessed with getting new customers, we sometimes forget that when it comes to current clients, the ‘selling” can never stop.
It is just called something a little different . . . customer service.

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