Home > Contemplations > The Value of Saying ‘No’ to Provide Great Customer Service

The Value of Saying ‘No’ to Provide Great Customer Service


waiter with beer mugs

The other night I went to a local pub with two friends after we attended an event for some drinks and food on King St West in Toronto. When I got to the pub I noticed that, after all the pictures I had taken and with the tweeting/checking-in I had done all afternoon and evening my phone’s battery was into the yellow – which meant my battery was getting pretty low. Being a tech geek addicted to my phone I had planned for this and brought my charger with me so I could plug in anywhere that had an outlet and charge up to get me through the rest of the evening with a working phone. We sat down at a table in the pub and I began to look around for a power outlet, something fairly ubiquitous in most establishments in North America, but for the life of me I couldn’t spot one anywhere.

I asked our server if she knew of any plugs in the are where we were sitting that I just hadn’t found and she told me there weren’t any in the seating area but if I asked on of the bartenders they would be happy to plug it in for me and give me a charge. I thanked her, went over to the bar, and asked the bartender standing there to please plug in my device even offering my charger if he needed one because he didn’t have the right one behind the bar. He told me it was no problem and he had a charger for my device. I sat down and enjoyed a couple of hours with my friends and when we got up to leave I went over to the bar to get my device which I was promptly handed back, they didn’t even have to unplug it. Confused, I took a look at my device, expecting/hoping to have plenty of battery for the rest of the evening and the ride home on the TTC and was disappointed. My battery was near dead, way closer to empty than when I handed it over to the bartender. As far as I could tell, they never even bothered plugging it in!

Electrical Outlet North America close up

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, talk about First World Problems, Dan! So what, your phone didn’t get charged and you had a dead battery that night, big freaking deal.” And, if that were the reason I was writing this post, you would be absolutely correct! But that isn’t the reason I am writing it. I am writing it because the establishment told me they would have no problem charging my phone for me behind the bar while I waited and then simply didn’t do it. The server could have said no when I asked her about charging my phone somewhere in the bar or the bartender could have said all the outlets were being used so he couldn’t charge my phone. Instead, he agreed to do a customer a service and then promptly didn’t. That is where the value of saying no comes in and is the point of this post.

Saying no in that situation would have meant my opinion now of the venue would not be what it currently is – pretty darn low. If they had told me they couldn’t charge my phone I would have had zero problem with it and with the bar. Sure, the next time my battery was low and I was thinking of stopping in somewhere for a drink I may have thought twice about heading into that establishment but now if that place is suggested by friends I will more than likely vote to head elsewhere – even with a full battery. We came in to spend time and money, and believe me when I say we didn’t just get one drink each, we racked up a sizeable bill in a sparsely populated bar. There are also an absolute ton of choices of King St West in that area to patronize so that bar should be competing for our dollars not trying to drive us away. Saying no in this instance would have made all the difference and would have actually been good customer service.

Or do you think I am just complaining about a First World Problem and I should get down off my soap box? Let me know what you think below!

Images via Microsoft Office.

(No, I will not let you know which establishment it was.)

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  1. June 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    It could’ve been a misunderstanding. Or someone who meant to plug it in got distracted and forgot. My tip: wait there and watch ’em plug it in for yourself, so you can have the piece of mind that it’s getting done.

    • June 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      You’re right, from here on out I am always going to watch and make sure they actually plug it in.

      As well, I think the chance that they forgot to do it is more likely than it being a misunderstanding but to be honest this wasn’t the first time something like this has happened at this particular location.

      The point of the post is more about saying no to a customer (or anyone really) rather than saying you’re going to do something and then not doing it. It is bad enough in personal relationships (and I believe it is something we all do, I know I have) but when it is a customer asking one to do something and you agree to do it and then don’t it is way, way worse.

  2. June 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I have a solution so this doesn’t happen again. Stop carrying around a charger that plugs into the wall! Get a Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation mini (http://bit.ly/Moce0u) – no need for an ac outlet or need to rely on someone to plug it in 🙂 #firstworldsolutions

  3. July 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I think you may be overreacting a tad. Let’s say it got busy or someone unplugged it meaning to plug it in again and just plain forgot! Your opinion should of this venue should not be affected.

    • July 16, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      There are, I am sure, a number of reasons and explanations for what may have happened. As well, I mentioned in a comment but not in the original post this wasn’t the first time this happened at this particular establishment.

      Either way, the point of the post was just about the value of saying ‘No’ to a customer. If the server or bartender had said no from the outset (this time and others) none of this would have happened.

      • July 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

        I understood the point of the post. Yes, I conceed… they should just say “No” if they aren’t going to do it.

        Having said that, I just want to point out that it is not their responsibility. Period. It is the responsibility of the mobile addicted (I am including my self in that group) to have our own mobile charging mechanisms with us at all times. In my opinion it does not reflect poorly on the venue UNLESS they market themselves as a mobile charging station that serves food and alcohol on the side.

        So long as the service is good, and the food is fresh the Pub owner and staff are doing their jobs.

        (I’m sure no one will agree with me on this)

        Have a great day Dan!

  1. June 27, 2012 at 2:03 am

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