How do you do Customer Service?

Yesterday I received a call from a close friend who had made a reservation at a local restaurant for a Sunday holiday brunch. He went on to explain that after he confirmed the reservation, he received a call from the restaurant about an hour later. To his disappointment they told him they would not be able to honor the reservation because they were going to be closed that day. This came one day before the holiday brunch. My friend said the only thing they told him was that they had a disgruntled employee and she had made this reservation for him and they were “Sorry”, but they would not be open that day. That’s it. His frustration was not so much that they called him, but they did not offer any other suggestions about other restaurants in the area to help him get a reservation, nor did they offer a discount the next time he came to the restaurant.  

So, I did some independent research about the messages given in such situations, and very interestingly enough, a lot depends on the age group of the individual giving the news and the age group they are giving the news to.   

I also completed some research on the different age group generations: These vary a bit from different sources but for our purpose these are close:  

  •  Matures – Born before 1945 
  • Baby Boomers – Born between 1946 – 1964 
  • Gen X – Born between 1965 -1981 
  • Gen Y (Millennials) – Born between 1982 – 2004 

Here are the responses from the same scenario above asked of three different individuals in their respective generation: 

The Baby Boomer (Woman born 1959) – She said “I would have offered a free meal to the customer the next time he came to the restaurant and made sure he asked for me when he came into eat”. Specifically, I’d want to meet the customer in person. 

Gen Y (Woman born 1998) – She said “I would have offered an apology and nothing more”.  She said “I probably would not have introduced herself” as she felt it was not her fault and she had already planned to be closed that day.  

Gen X (Male born 1969) – He said he would have been apologetic and would have offered them a free dessert. He said “I would have given them some suggestions and made the call if needed for a few restaurants I know in the area”.  

As we live in a customer service world and most of us understand that aspect of our business, it makes me think of a few questions: 

  1. How do you want your representatives handling situations like this?  

  2. Does it depend on the age generation?  

  3. Does one generation expect different responses than another? 

Realizing every circumstance and every customer is not the same. To learn how we handle customer situations I would like to know what you might do? Or maybe you have your own story that you would like to share. Thanks in advance for you sharing on

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