You know, at Falak Enterprises (Zen-Do and DreamBody Centre), we go out of our way to please our students and members. We really strive to provide outstanding service and amazing experiences for our customers.
Of course, from time to time we might mess up, and when we do, we apologise and rectify the matter immediately, often providing the affected people with generous compensation gifts.
But every once in a while (every other year or so) there is a customer who is hell-bent on making our life miserable. They complain constantly, and/or are rude to my Team. When this happens we try to politely explain our point of view, and if this does not work, then out they go! I give them the proverbial boot, and in most cases, their money is given back to them.
One of the worse and most inaccurate business maxim’s is “the customer is always right.” To be honest I’m surprised by the number of people who believe this BS. Don’t get me wrong, the customer should be treated like a king as much as possible, and you should go out of your way to please him, but that’s not the same as him being right all the time.
Let me give you an example. Imagine someone walks into your store/business, helps themselves to any item and walks out, without paying. Would you tolerate that? What if a customer walks in, and decides to urinate on your reception desk, is he right? You get my point.
At the DreamBody Centre (DBC), we’ve had two European members who’ve been complaining on and off for years. Their names would come up in my management meetings every few months. They complain bout the temperature in the DBC circuit, and treat our Team Members disrespectfully. They happen to like the temperature to be FREEZING in the circuit, which causes other members to complain.
Like I said, we’ve been dealing with them patiently for a couple of years now, but recently I’ve had enough. They’ve been shouting at and intimidating my Team Members (which affects their motivation and morale), and shouting at other members. I asked my Marketing and Operations Manager to have a chat with them, which did not help. In fact, it only lead to racial slurs from them. That’s it, I thought, time to kick them out!
Just because they give us money does not mean they can treat us like dirt. Of course, just because we’re about to give them the boot, does not mean it should be done disrespectfully. So we prepared a polite, but firm letter, explaining the situation, and telling them that their membership with us has been terminated.
Here’s the letter that was given to each:
This is in regards to your disappointment about the temperature inside our circuit. After the attempts of several Team Members to speak with you, it seems that there has been no resolution of this issue. I understand that you had a similar complaint in our Seef branch.
We have standards in place regarding our temperature inside the circuit, based on a few factors. These are
• Member feedback
• Change in weather/outdoor temperature
• General feel in the circuit
We have had no other complaints regarding the temperature being too hot. On the contrary, we have had majority of our member feedback saying that it is “too cold” inside the circuit. All our members are important to us, including yourself, but in such cases where a common ground cannot be met, we must go with the majority of the feedback that we have received.
We are sorry to hear that this does not meet your standards.
As a result, we are forced to invoke the following, clause no. 10 on your membership agreement(enclosed)
“The Principal has the right to discontinue a Member’s membership for any reason deemed to be sufficient, without any explanation being given and without returning the Member’s subscription or any part thereof.”
Effective immediately, we will be discontinuing your membership at the DreamBody Centre. We will also refund you completely for the previous two months of your membership.
This is a very difficult decision, but we can no longer bear the disruption caused by this issue inside the circuit as well as confrontations with other Members and Team Members that have occurred recently.
I apologize for any inconvenience all this may have caused you and wish you all the best in your health and fitness goals.
CEO and Founder
Well to say that they were shocked would be an understatement! They could not believe it, and they did not believe I wrote the letter. They demanded to speak to me personally, which I did not do. Once you’re out, you’re out baby. If you can’t respect my Team, and cannot control your racial prejudices, then this is no place for you. Sadly, these two European ladies accentuated the arrogant expat image some expats have here in Bahrain. They are in the minority, but there is a category of expat (mostly Europeans) who look down at locals, and have an “oh we’re so much better at everything” attitude. Not in my business!
They of course did the usual threatening, saying that they would write to the newspapers. It’s not like I ever shied away from some publicity – or controversy for that matter. Good riddance!
Talk to you soon 🙂
I have written a follow up blog post to this piece. See the link below: