Richard Maun – The Sad Service Story

better business blog

Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation


The Sad Service Story

10 February 2020

What is the essence of business?

If you automatically answered ‘profit’ then think again, because that’s an output of good business.

The essence is….ta dah…excellence!

Not perfection, because that is an illusion. Excellence implies consistency to a high standard.

Anything less means we are playing at being in business and probably letting our ego get in the way of great products, delivered with great service.

I’ve been watching Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA. I know they are made for TV and have drama and jeopardy in them, but look beyond the arguments and ridiculous menus and you will see that each episode is a mini case study in how not to be in business. It’s a bonfire of egos and success only happens when the hapless and burned out restaurant owner finally reconciles themselves to their often monstrous ego and makes a profound change. Worth a watch.

They are all sad stories, wrapped up in happy TV endings (mostly).

A colleague of mine shared a sad story that runs thus…

Her bookkeeper had been merrily working away, adding expenses and invoices to their electronic system. One day her accountant happened to notice that the expenses were in fact missing. So naturally she raised this with the bookkeeper, expecting to get an honest answer, a sincere apology and a swift resolution.

To her surprise, the bookkeeper became angry and defensive that he had been ‘audited’ and sent sharp messages to my colleague complaining about the sudden lack of trust.

No sincere apology. No request for an urgent meeting to sort things out. No sense of customer service at a time of crisis.

It doesn’t matter too much if we make a mistake, they are going to happen. What counts is how we handle it.

A thorough apology, quick restitution and a healthy discount (or free repair work) go a long way to restoring confidence.

My colleague received none of this and instead had to deal with her bookkeeper’s angry ego.

It is a truism that a happy customer will tell 1 person and an unhappy customer will tell 20. Quickly, the word spreads that bad things are happening.

It’s the same with the rubbish restaurants that Chef Ramsay visits. The word goes out and business dives.

Sadly, in the case of my colleague, there was no Accountant Ramsay to breathe sense into her bookkeeper and she has now parted ways with him.

He clearly didn’t value her business, or seem worried that his actions (or lack of) would have any consequences. His ego won and his business lost. A bad attitude lead to a bad output.

Business, any business, is hard work. It takes a lifetime to build our reputation and a couple of angry emails (or tweets) to ruin it.

We always have to ask ourselves:

1. Are we delivering excellence?

2. Or are we letting our ego run the business for us?

It’s not hard. Great business doesn’t need Chef Ramsay. Just consistency, honesty and integrity.

This week we can all reflect on my colleague’s sad service story and decide how we would have handled the situation. Then we can find out if our business is really delivering excellence, or if we need to make a few changes?

Have fun being excellent!

Next week: The Memorial Story


Click cover to view details on Amazon


Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact