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@Suzi_C I agree and that's difficult to draw out of certain patrons. In service environments, customers may feel uncomfortable speaking out or asking questions because the environment is not conducive to open communication. I would advise management to train its employees to encourage open communication with customers. In my personal experience at Applebee's and most chain restaurants, employees rush past in a hurry, "You doing okay?" as opposed to a full stop (imagine rolling stop at stop signs, haha) and making eye contact with everyone at the table to show I have their full attention. Speaking slower with deliberation seemed to elicit more conversation, which eventually would lead to voicing any concerns customers may have. This applies in retail stores as well, which is the only retail environment I have personal employment experience with. When you slow down instead of rush, the customer you are interacting with is less likely to feel they are somehow getting in your way of what you're doing.
2 years ago on Six Tips for Managing an Out-of-Control Social Media Crisis
Hi, everyone, I am a student at Syracuse University studying Social Media Theory & Practice with @dr4ward I study PR and retail, and the first thing that both emphasize in school is customer comes first. Hear out your customer/audience/target market/what have you, and you are more likely to be successful. This whole controversy could've been avoided had Applebee's utilized better training for its staff to ensure customers never leave the premises feeling unsatisfied, whether it be the service or the percent required for tip. By not having open communication with customers who actually enter their establishments, the company now has a greater problem of 'open communication' with the rest of the Internet.