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What would you do if you were handed a stained napkin at a restaurant? You’d probably complain to management, but whether or not you return in the future depends on management’s response.

Disgruntled customers are an inevitable part of owning a business. No matter how much effort you put into creating an enjoyable dining experience, mistakes will be made.  The potential of mismatched visions of required service and quality between customers and servers cannot be avoided. When faced with a disgruntled customer, it’s important to handle the situation with friendly professionalism. Share on X

Dissatisfied Customers: Bad For Business

No business owner or facility manager wants their customers to be unhappy. Not only does it signal potential internal problems, but it’s bad for business. Here are 5 crucial steps to take when faced with dissatisfied customers:

  1. Welcome Feedback
  2. Respond With Empathy
  3. Show Understanding
  4. Validate
  5. Provide a Solution

1) Welcome Feedback

It’s not enough to claim that you welcome feedback from customers. A new trend in many restaurants and facilities is signage that features a cell phone number to text or call management. This provides an outlet for unsatisfied customers to have their complaints heard, instead of going straight to Yelp or Facebook reviews.

2) Respond With Empathy

It’s natural for you to feel defensive when faced with harsh criticisms. Step back and take control of the tone by responding with empathy and humility. Apologize genuinely, and take the time to listen to their story.  

3) Show Understanding

When you speak with your customer, focus on their grievance. Ask clarifying questions, and seek to understand their position. After they’ve explained their concerns, summarize it for them to show that you’ve been listing and you understand.

4) Validate

Acknowledge your customer’s unhappiness, and make it clear that you’re working towards an expedient solution. Usually, the only time things escalate is when you’re unable to acknowledge that a mistake was made. Validating the customer’s concern and promising a solution will usually fix the issue.

5) Provide a Solution

It’s important to have a set strategy in place for specific problems, but personalize your response to the customer and situation. Great customer service can turn unhappy customers into brand advocates, while a bad response can have the opposite effect.


Not all feedback is negative. Suggestions from customers are invaluable and can provide an opportunity for you to improve your offerings. For example, a customer may suggest that fabric napkins would be preferable to paper. Before you dismiss them, do a cost analysis by looking into linen leasing and laundry services. You may find that it’s a bigger benefit to you after all!

Wilkins Linen has been in business for decades, and we know what it takes to keep customers happy. Contact Us to learn more about linen services in the Houston area.

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