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Why errors can be great opportunities

 Published on: 1st March 2017   |   By: Nik Allen

My post a couple of weeks ago about a negative experience I had at a local pub restaurant certainly caused a stir.

I had a lot of responses, especially as I mentioned what happened in my monthly comments within My Kings News.

In fairness to the pub, The Rose and Crown, in Kings Langley, they responded to my complaints via their press office.

But again it highlighted for me how out of touch a lot of big companies are with the needs of customers.

Here’s what they said below, with my comments in brackets next to it.

Comment on behalf of the Rose & Crown (Why didn’t they add the manager’s name or at least a spokesperson’s name – again not personalising their brand): “We apologise for any delay the guest experienced in service during their recent visit and for the comments made by our team member.

We run a popular pub, which sometimes does result in very busy service times.  (The issue really wasn’t the waiting time, which was a minor irritation. The issue was the waitress’s dismissive attitude.)

However, our team should be well practised in dealing with this and should always inform guests if we expect any potential waiting time for food.  (Again in fairness the bar manager mentioned this but he said it would be ‘a couple of minutes’ wait rather than 25 minutes).

We’ll feedback to the team on this guests’ experience to ensure it does not happen again.” (Fine at least we were listened to but it feels generic and not very personal.)

Would it make me want to return to the pub after the initial experience? Probably not.

Now I’m not saying that mistakes can be terminal for a business.

At My News we make mistakes. But we always try to act quickly and fairly to rectify them. If we’ve made an error on an advert we’ll apologise and run the next one for free or give the advertisers a credit.

How you handle a mistake or a negative experience a customer has had with you can actually be an opportunity to improve the relationship.

A friend of mine complained once to Gu – the dessert makers. They sent a detailed reply, clearly showing they’d really looked into his complaint and then gave him a £5 voucher and a nicely packaged Gu spoon.

He always talks about this when the discussion gets onto customer service. He loves Gu and reckons he ended up buying more than before because the company turned his complaint into a positive PR move.

It wasn’t the £5 voucher or spoon that turned him around – it was simply that he felt really listened to and treated fairly.

Hotels are often pretty good at dealing with guests’ complaints too.

As long as the compliant is sincere and genuine it should be treated seriously and responded to personally.

Because that can keep the customer happy and that’s what business is ultimately all about.

Thanks for reading,



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