For a few weeks now I have been paying close attention to Gary Vaynerchuk. Even though I have come across him about a year ago during a lecture, I didn’t follow him and even knew what he was famous for or what the whole hype was all about. All I knew back then was that he was a guy selling wine on the Internet. I thought that was cool, but nothing more.
While surfing regularly, a few weeks ago I saw his TheDaily weekly show on YouTube. His level of confidence on the subjects that he was talking about was very high, his assurance in being able to predict the future aspects of business and social media was mind blowing. And, having seen some old predictions - about a dozen of them, he was right. So, after that I started to dig deeper and found out about WineLibrary.com and his video blog reviewing wine in a way that was completely different from anything else. So much passion was being put into every single bottle of wine - it was just unbelievable. Not to mention the number of video blogs he had done (more than 900!). So, a lot of effort went into that.
Anyway, apart from TheDaily and WineLibrary, I found his lectures and his book - the Thank You Economy. I’m still in the process of reading, but nevertheless - the Thank You concept is what I’m going to really be writing about today.
Without the desire to change the subject completely, (un)fortunately, an interesting thing happened just a few days ago, during weekend. Marko, a friend of mine, went to a quite popular, high end, steak house restaurant in Zagreb called Mu (as in cow Mu) for lunch. I’ve visited Mu once and didn’t have any complaints. Food was good, steak was well done, potatoes warm, knifes fine and sharp. On the other side, Marko has visited Mu for a couple of times before and something was always wrong, something was always missing. But, this weekend was a different story and Mu crossed the line.
After coming to the restaurant, Marko and his company had to wait for giving the order for about a half an hour, then he ordered a medium rare steak and got the wrong one and had no real steak knife to chop the steak with. Well, some would say - “so, big deal, boo-f**-hoo” … And, that’s a valid opinion. But, having in mind that Mu is a high end, expensive restaurant (or it just declares itself that way?), with a major of its costumers as business people with high expectations of food, atmosphere and service, I’d say it makes a real problem.
I’m no food expert nor do I specially care about that particular restaurant and even though I believe Marko, I will not choose sides. But, being a social media enthusiast, the fun for me starts now. After coming home, Marko wrote a blog post ranting the restaurant, explaining all the details and posting a picture. And, to make the whole circle, shared the post to his friends and followers.
The magic starts now. A couple of people commented on the post, no big deal. But, the next day, the waiter, owner or whatever person representing the restaurant commented too. Would you say he apologized, asked for forgiveness, asked Marko to give him a second chance and try to turn the whole situation upside down to do some damage control at least? Yes, of course you would.
But, that’s not what happened. I am so so sorry that the original post and comments are in Croatian and that you cannot experience this in its original form. I’ll do my best to describe the atmosphere. Here’s what happened. The representative smashed the whole post, saying and telling Marko to go and eat at the other “great” steak restaurants, accusing Marko of not recognizing what a real steak was and not knowing the difference between kinds of steaks and calling him lazy for not asking for a new knife. After reading this, I thought to myself - this guy is out of his mind. He just made an online harakiri right in front of the world. After that, just to finish the story, Marko answered politely, repeating the situation and that was that.
So, after all that I was stunned. I could not believe that a representative of a high class restaurant would flip out like that, damaging himself and the restaurant on purpose, with no respect at all for the customer, clearly not thinking even a minute away in the future and not being conscious about the public face of the Internet. Obviously, “the customer is always right” does not apply in this situation or in his mind for that matter. Marko’s blog is quite famous and it didn’t took long for other bloggers to find out and share the story to their friends. The word spread, Twitter got involved and started to speak, the bad review is by now up high on the Google search page and I can only imagine how much traffic will this restaurant lose. Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure.
Back to the Thank You concept. It was fascinated to me to see this kind of reaction. What the representative should’ve done was to offer an apology, confess that it was a bad bad day at Mu, express his views and to try to change the story - offer Marko a free meal, which ever one he likes, for him and his friends, do anything else but snap out of control.
Except for the means of getting out of this mess, this situation clearly shows the power of the web and the social media. In this day and age, the power of a single individual is greater than ever before. His thought, opinions, reviews, bad and good, with or without a reason, are being shoved online at an enormous pace and are waiting to be picked up by some tourist wanting to eat a great steak in Zagreb. I think it’s fairly sure to say - Mu will not be an option.
–Written on March 20th, 2012 by Marko Srsan