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Customer Service Equilibrium

There’s probably a book that talks about this at length, but since I don’t read, I decided I’m going to write about it.

Have you ever visited a restaurant on a Friday night and couldn’t get good service?  Forget good service.  You couldn’t get service, period.  Even though they have a ton of waitresses, there’s so many people, they can’t get to everyone.  So, you thought to yourself, “Hey, self.  Let’s come here when it’s not so crowded.”

So, you return to the restaurant on a Monday at 5:30pm.  This time, there’s only 3 other tables with customers, but there’s only one waitress.  Guess what happens.  The waitress seems to disappear after she goes to one table.  When she finally reappears and takes your order, she disappears again, not to be seen for 20 minutes.

What you have experienced is what I call “Customer Service Equilibrium,” or CSE.  Basically, it just means that the quality of service goes to the level required to perform the minimum required work.  Therefore, when the business is super busy, the workers work quickly and hard to just barely maintain some level of customer service.

However, when it’s slow, the few workers slack off because there are less customers.  They no longer rush or work hard because they don’t have to.

I’ve noticed this happening at badly managed restaurants, retail stores, bars, and even strip clubs.  There’s not much the customer can do.  Complaining to the waitress will just make them spit in your food.

But this CSE factor is the difference between a well run business, and one that’s probably going to fail eventually.  I guess it’s like Darwinism for business.