Select Page

Picture this. You’ve been a patron of a store, company or restaurant for some time and have received good service. One day, you visit this establishment, receive very poor service, are extremely disappointed and vow to never return again. Have you ever experienced this?

If so, you reached your Point of No Return. In business, The Point of No Return occurs when one single bad customer experience results in losing a customer for life. Regardless of the customer’s previous loyalty.

As such, for service providers it’s critical to avoid slipping below this critical line. Naturally, not all customers will be unforgiving and boycott a business because of one bad service incident, but, is potentially losing customers for life worth the risk?

Because customers have varied definitions of poor vs good service, as service providers we need to maintain high standards. This helps us reduce the risk of delivering “bad” service … In other words, even our average service needs to be at least “good”, so as to not be perceived as “bad” by those customers who are most demanding. Note that I’m not advocating mediocre service here, I’m being realistic knowing that some of our staff may at times slip and have a bad day. My point is our team needs to understand that even on a bad day, we need to make an effort to not slip below the line, chancing a possible Point of No Return.

Here’s a real-life example of The Point of No Return. In the past, my sister’s go-to place for brunch was a casual restaurant called The Grill. Although not exceptional, the food was always good and so was the service. A few weeks ago, she brunched at The Grill and had a negative service and food quality experience. The result? In her words, “I’m never going there again”. There you have it, she dipped down into The Point of No Return… a customer lost for life.

In conclusion, I believe this simple but important concept should be taught to all service providers, including managers and frontline staff. We all need to do our very best to remain “above the line” and avoid Points of No Returns.