The irony of a restaurant automatically adding a service charge is that the service no longer needs to be good; a waiter no longer needs to try.
We, the customers, are faced with paying a surcharge for mediocre service or the embarrassment of asking for the added 12.5% to be removed.
That’s not customer service.
It doesn’t feed a culture of excellence and it certainly doesn’t encourage those great waiters who have the personality and drive to make your evening special.
When you call a customer helpline and get told ‘your call really matters’, you know it doesn’t; otherwise, you wouldn’t have been on hold for three minutes, let alone 10.
And when you get the standard customer service message of 2022 that “because of COVID we are a bit rubbish at the moment”, you wonder how long it will take to get back to ‘the good old days; where the customer service was ‘good’? Two years, three years, four?
Wherever we look within our businesses, there are always chances to cut costs or force charges onto customers.
The thing is, people remember the experience long after they’ve paid the bill.