I saw a great quote on Facebook the other day, one that really stuck with me. It said “No matter how educated, talented, rich, or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is everything.”
It was perfect timing for me to see it, because it’s something I was just thinking about—I am absolutely outraged about how some people use social media to bully businesses. There’s a big difference between a “review” and what is actually “cyber bullying,”. It takes a lot of courage, money, and time to put yourself out there to risk everything you have to start a small, locally owned business, so the last thing business owners need is to be “set up” for a bad so-called review. Constructive criticism should be welcomed by business owners when it’s brought to their attention, but it shouldn’t be plastered all over the Internet by people without integrity.
When I go into a business—let’s say it’s a restaurant—and the wait staff happens to forget about me, I will gently remind them that I haven’t been waited on. For example, last weekend, my husband and I went to one of the most popular breakfast places around, and they were packed. We were seated in the corner and I ordered a cup of hot tea and he ordered a cappuccino. It took more than 10 minutes to receive our drinks, and in the meantime, they sat a lady in her mid-50s next to us. The host handed her a menu and walked away. We finally got our drinks, and then we were both surprised at how quickly our food came after that. We were happy.
However, while I was enjoying my yummy breakfast and sipping on my tea, I looked over and noticed the lady next to me trying hard to get the attention of the wait staff. I realized that this poor lady hadn’t even been asked for her order yet! I couldn’t take it anymore; I got up and flagged down the server and told her that the lady next to me had been there for more than 10 minutes and no one had waited on her. The server felt bad that no one was taking care of this customer, and when I got back to my table, the customer thanked me for helping her. (I have a new friend, too; we made small talk about how things happen and you have to speak up, and she joked that it was her fault for not speaking up.)
The point is, the staff thought they were on top of everything on this busy weekend morning, and they certainly didn’t ignore this sweet lady on purpose. She was also confident that she would get the level of service and quality of product that she deserved. But no one jumped right on the Internet and bashed the restaurant for having bad service. Everyone involved took responsibility for their own actions (or lack thereof).
When I go into a place of business, I want (and get) quality customer service because I’m nice and I treat the staff as humans and not as the hired help. They deserve respect from their customers. If you are not receiving the service you feel you deserve, ask yourself, did you talk down to them? Did you treat them like hired help? Did you walk in with a chip on your shoulder? Yes, there are times when the staff is rude and it’s nothing you did or can do, I will give you that. But that’s when you should address your concerns with the owner or manager… not jump on the Internet the first chance you get.
And that brings me to why I’m writing about this topic. What is it about the Internet that makes us feel “brave” enough to trash, smash, and criticize a business for one small mistake that they would have been more than happy to rectify? What has happened to our community? We’ve lost our kindness and compassion if we are so quick to judge, especially if we are judging a business based on one isolated interaction. It must be exhausting pointing out everyone’s flaws and using the Internet for cyber-bullying. And I can’t believe that some people actually fall for this online bashing.
Let’s bring back the kindness and compassion in our community and support, inspire, and enhance each other. Let’s use the Internet for good things! Here’s another inspiring quote: “Do good and good things will happen.”