how NOT to talk to clients


I wasn’t going to get involved but I changed my mind.

Greenlydia, a very good SM friend turned real life friend who you’ll know cause we wrote a book together (and just cause she’s fucking awesome) has a blog where she writes about her travels, reviews things and just talks about life. Well very recently she and her person took a trip and visited a restaurant called The Colonial in Magaliesburg (she lives on the other side of SA) and was met with an unfortunately pitiful experience. Giving them every opportunity to better their service but in the end being met with dismal circumstances.

She wrote a review about it here > THE COLONIAL RESTAURANT – A COLOSSAL DISAPPOINTMENT < and if you give it a read I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s not a cutting review but an honest one and maybe if I didn’t value her opinion as much as I do (and I lived there) I’d give them a second chance. Actually, I did give them a second chance, that was until she shared her review with them in hopes they would be able to make a civil comment and perhaps apologise… Yeah, that did not happen.

You see, despite giving them the opportunity the “owner” of The Colonial decided to comment and the way she did so publicly is the perfect lesson in how NOT to handle negative reviews or talk to customers.

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And to make matters even worse for herself she blocked Lydia on FB and then proceeded to hunt down and attempt to add her friends… I have no idea how she found me because up until she decided to attempt adding me as a friend I hadn’t actually participated other than simply reading the blog post. So A) how did she find me when most PR companies can’t find out who I actually am (she should be a PI!) and B) what in her right mind makes her think for even a second that I would actually hit the accept button?! I will admit that there was a moment where I did consider it just to see what she would do but then I realised I don’t need a vindictive 12 year old in my life, I’m already mom to an almost 7 year old, I don’t need to deal with her drama.

So if I don’t want her drama why do the post? Mmm… Maybe to prove the power of social media, to prove that even though the blogging world has it’s issues we do tend to ban together and guess what… what we say does actually matter. So Katy Van Wijk, next time you respond to a customer maybe brush up on your spelling and grammar first and then secondly take a moment to put on your big girl panties and act like an adult and not a 12 year old throwing a temper tantrum. Because you are a restaurant owner.

I have managed 2 restaurants, several other companies and own my own business. You can not please every single client, not everyone likes cupcakes (or in your case your service and food). When you’re in the service industry you have to have a hard shell, there will be people who don’t like what you do BUT here’s the catch… you need to deal with it professionally. Calmly. RESPECTFULLY. And you also have to actually make some sort of an effort for them to like you and not just expect it.

I’ve had a client order a summer mermaid tail and then complain that it’s not what she wanted when it’s exactly what she asked for but instead of flipping my lid and throwing my toys out the cot – yes, I totally did that and called her many names but the catch is I did that PRIVATELY to myself and I vented to friends PRIVATELY. With her I was calm, apologetic and nice even though that’s far from what I wanted to be.


The internet has made the world smaller and has made it much easier to build up business but the flip side is that it can also kill your business. I am hot headed and quick to anger, my temper runs REALLY high and I struggle daily to keep it in check (thanks bpd, you’re wonderful. Not) and I am often too quick to respond cause of it so I guess I’m being a smidget hypocritical but the thing is you really have to be careful what you put out there… she says while plotting an über honest post.

Oh and Katy – you should check out Ashley Knight, she’s AMAZING when it comes to managing your business online. Am sure she’d be happy to help you plan better ways to manage yourself online.

2 thoughts on “how NOT to talk to clients”

  1. Carla VDW says:

    I read your article and your friends review, then went to the restaurants page and had a look.
    Its truly bizarre… the 5* ratings seem to be by the owners and employees. The 1* ratings get completely shot down often rudely and in fact the restaurants general response is “You have never been to our restaurant”.
    The owners do seem to be incredibly lacking in common sense of how to treat their clients.
    Even if Greenlydia caught them on a bad day their attitude is completely unwarranted.
    Also isn’t the whole concept of a “colonial restaurant” a tad un-PC in this day and age?
    I would not go to this place after reading into all of this!

  2. Siobhan Hughes says:

    Oh for goodness sake. The owner of the restaurant has no sense of spelling or grammar, and clearly no sense of business or restaurant management either. If you can’t actually do your job correctly, and then can’t take the criticism given (and given in a nice, well-written way), then get out of the restaurant business. Find something more suitable to your intelligence.

    The very least she could have done was to send an inbox with that message (if she really felt it was necessary to send it to begin with). But to not apologise for crap food, poor service and cheating customers out of money by forcing them to have double shots of a liquor that they did not order, is just downright shoddy. I love little one-of-a-kind restaurants, but I have to say that a franchise would have apologised profusely and offered a voucher for a meal there, or a refund, because THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!

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