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Service standards (prt II): attitude

An occasional look at the bits and bobs that comprise good service: Charlie Butterworth gets short shrift in the excellent Hillary Step

Published on January 26th 2010.


Service standards (prt II): attitude

A situation
We were in the Hillary Step, a cracking bar in Whalley Range with great whiskies, superb beers, decent wines and a startling range of nuts. A proper drinking and chatting den in otherwords, with the odd snack thrown in. It's a good looking venue too with live music on Sunday evenings.

The Hillary Step is a neighbourhood bar that any neighbourhood would be proud of. The management clearly care about what they deliver and the service from most of the staff reflects this.

But there's a problem.

A male member of staff is an object lesson in how not to serve people.

He's not so much rude as couldn't give a flying fuck.

He never smiles, he never tries to engage in chat and he never learns his products. Indeed he seems to think that all this bar work is so far beneath him you'd need the Hubble Telescope to see it.

He has that attitude that seems to say one day he'll be such a success that all the down-trodden little shits that he serves will think it a privilege to have been cold-shouldered by him.

This week a friend, Simon, asked what was the hoppiest ale and what the various strengths of the ales were as he didn't want one that was too strong. Mr Couldn't-care-less ignored the first question and told my friend to read the pump clip if he wanted to know what the strengths were.

My friend then asked about the range of nuts in the cabinet (he's got a freaky thing going on with nuts) and what combinations you get them in. “It's written on the notice here, you can read it there,” the man said when he could just as well have told Simon what was available and, as good staff do, encourage him to buy the more expensive deluxe selection and thus help the business prosper.

When he cleaned up the empty glasses off the table, our man reached over my head without saying excuse me and removed a glass with almost a centimetre of beer in. He almost barged another drinker out of the way to get the glasses.

The moral of the story
Whatever the quality of the products, places surely need to identify poor service immediately. The Hillary Step is a great little business but it is compromised by bad service. The boss should have a word with our man, employ some complex wire and peg system to make him smile, advise him to learn his products, tell him to talk to people if they talk to him and be polite when collecting glasses. Above all they need to ask him if he's in the right job: whether working in a cemetery where the customers don't talk back might suit. Neighbourhood bars need to be a bit like Cheers Bar, they need to show their love of the customers not their scorn. The Hillary Step is a cracking place suffering from a curable and localised rudeness.

Click here fore the first service standards article The Hillary Step is at 199 Upper Chorlton Rd, Whalley Range, M16 0BH.

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19 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AgricolaJanuary 27th 2010.

I'm going to visit this bar to see if this guy is as bad as you say. I hope he is: I like perfect examples of things.

Steve HydeJanuary 27th 2010.

Humm, Its obvious that this reviewer had a poor experience with this particular member of staff, but to say of the bar "it is compromised by bad service" seems a little bit extreme, does this person work at the bar all day every day? And is he always like this?? I’m local to this bar and ive been on many occasions with my friends and family and consistently had a good time and found friendly and knowledgeable staff. To tar the bar itself with this article, as an example of bad service for the one occasion the reviewer went in seems highly unfair to both the bar and the other people who work there to make it the great venue it is.. I dislike poor customer service as much as the next person, and work in a customer facing role, but it seems like MC have taken a lazy liberty with their position for this ranting article about an individual, and not about the bar itself. Bad form. I hope you give a fuck to go back some day and set the record straight for you and your readership.

EditorialJanuary 27th 2010.

We know for a fact that Mr Butterworth goes into the Step about three times a week. But this time, with a visiting friend, it all got too much for him.

Steve HydeJanuary 27th 2010.

Humm, Its obvious that this reviewer had a poor experience with this particular member of staff, but to say of the bar "it is compromised by bad service" seems a little bit extreme, does this person work at the bar all day every day? And is he always like this?? I’m local to this bar and ive been on many occasions with my friends and family and consistently had a good time and found friendly and knowledgeable staff. To tar the bar itself with this article, as an example of bad service for the one occasion the reviewer went in seems highly unfair to both the bar and the other people who work there to make it the great venue it is.. I dislike poor customer service as much as the next person, and work in a customer facing role, but it seems like MC have taken a lazy liberty with their position for this ranting article about an individual, and not about the bar itself. Bad form. I hope you give a fuck to go back some day and set the record straight for you and your readership.

EditorialJanuary 27th 2010.

Er....I think we answered that Mr Hyde? Maybe this is your Jekyll persona?

Mr JekyllJanuary 27th 2010.

No I'm Mr Jekyll, Mr Hyde just lives in a cave.

He's a nutterJanuary 27th 2010.

I know this man in a bar I also love. He's built a religion around never smiling, it's called 'A Hillary Step Forward, now fuck off.' They worship on the altar of rancour.

Steve HydeJanuary 27th 2010.

I think its your new code that resubmitted on refresh, if I join will that give you enough money to fix it?

isabella16070January 27th 2010.

Seems to happen a lot, this double/triple posting thing....

Robert BerryJanuary 27th 2010.

We're working on fixing it now, should be done soon!

NortherngeezerJanuary 27th 2010.

My most fave experience of all time was sending a jug of water back in an indian restaurant in Chorlton (no names eh, wouldnt want to upset them), the waiter had the cheek to ask what was wrong with it!!!!. There followed a fairly intense debate on the cleanliness of the jug, the quality of the water, and the half a lemon bunged in it, hehehe. It was the 'tut' as he walked away that pissed me off though.PS - Do i have to double click/treble click etc to get this rant posted more than once or is it just an act of god, PMSL.

Hero
Katie AmosJanuary 28th 2010.

Has anyone got the same problem with one of the girls in Eat on the crossroads of King Street and Cross Street - she is in there everyday and is always in a nark about something. Even tried to make me look stupid for asking if there was fish in the Thai Chicken Soup "no it's chicken" but a look in the book from her colleague showed I was correct fro asking as it contained fish sauce. She really gets my goat!

barstaffruleJanuary 28th 2010.

I dont blame him. Having worked in bars meself, the vast majority of punters are rude and obnoxious.As I used to say,if you dont like, there are plenty of other bars to drink in.Piss off to one of them.

lostinnotationJanuary 29th 2010.

It is sad but I think you have to give people the benefit of the doubt from time to time. He may have been having a bad day himself and though it is a nice idea that everone has the priviledge of enjoying one's job sadly its not always the case and those of us who do enjoy our jobs have what I would consider a duty to remember this and therefore look more kindly on people who are clearly just miserable with their current lot in life. I used to smile away at people when I worked in a bar but still had to tolerate drunks grabbing me and calling me words I shall not even here repeat. Because of this from time to time my enthusiasm would slip so I hope it wasn't just sods law that you came upon this gentleman on what had been a difficult day for him.

AgricolaJanuary 29th 2010.

Lostinnotation, I now have experienced this bar member. He's been rude like that for years apparently. He couldn't give a damn.

KoalaJanuary 29th 2010.

BARSTAFFRULE, you're probably as bad as 'rude barman'. I ran a bar for a few years and my staff and myself delivered constant high standards of service to the effect that we won several national awards. In my opinion,if you're in a service industry and you're professional (regardless of whether your part-time/temp/aiming for higher things)you don't let a rude customer compromise your standards. Dealing with rude customers can be hard, but you'd be surprised how you can turn a person round by applying some good old fashioned people skills. As a customer I am ALWAYS polite in bars and get seriously pissed off with staff who are unresponsive or treat you like they wish you weren't there. They're behind that bar because they have a job to do....if they don't like it, go WORK somewhere else.

CASJanuary 29th 2010.

I worked in bars when younger and did my best. You get some people thinking they are too good for a certain job and when they get a 'proper job' they'll work hard. Invaribly these people feel they're better than colleagues all their lifes and never really progress. If you're in a job, always do it to the best of your ability. I think it's called pride.

lostinnotationJanuary 29th 2010.

Thanks Agricola I can stop feeling bad for him now he is obviously just an unplesant young man. Cas I really agree with what you say, pride ensures you work hard at your job even if it is just to make sure the toilet sparkles (I have cleaned in the past). I also find that when you do this you tend to enjoy your job more and get on with your colleagues better ensuring even more positive rewards.

Do it rightFebruary 7th 2010.

He should find a new job, simple as that. Service staff or either naturals or in the wrong place.

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