Good or Great: Three Reasons Your Customer Service May Not Measure Up

Meet Ella.  If you are lucky, you will meet her when you dine at Roastfish and Cornbread on Hilton Head Island.  I did recently and my interactions with her prompted this week’s blog (see her smiling face in our blog photo).

So, what about Ella inspired our story? Well, the food was great (authentic low country fare) but it was Ella that really made our dining experience memorable.  She demonstrated three specific skills that I’m convinced differentiate a “great” service moment instead of any other descriptors that don’t quite measure up (you know, good, okay, fine, etc.). How did she do it?  And even more importantly, how can your business apply the same strategies?

#1 Ella “owned” her role.
When we sat down to our table Ella greeted us quickly by saying, “Welcome to my restaurant, I’m glad you are here.” She was our server – not the owner or manager.  But we were dining at her restaurant.  Ella went on to tell us her specials and recommendations for our meal (which were delicious, by the way).  This ownership doesn’t happen by accident.  She felt responsible for our dining experience and took her role seriously to ensure that occurred. How was this possible?  The manager gave her the opportunity to make it her own.  How about you? Do members of your team feel like they work in YOUR department or their OWN? Interesting perspective, isn’t it?

#2  Ella believed in her product.
What does this mean in a restaurant? Her face actually lit up as she described the sweet potato fries and her voice emphasized the creaminess of the key lime cheesecake. This woman believes in what she sells because she has experienced their foods.  How does this translate in your world?  Do your employees also purchase your services or do they try to sell something they have never experienced?  If your services or product is not tangible, how are you helping them know what they are selling or promising to your customers?  You can’t sell what you don’t know or believe in.  Customers will see through that act every time.

#3  Ella enjoyed her role.
Finally, Ella actually enjoys what she does.  It was fun to watch her interact with diners throughout the restaurant.  She laughed, smiled and chatted with folks in a way that brought a smile to faces. Waitressing is hard work but amid the heavy trays and standing on her feet, she created an environment that was inviting, pleasant and enjoyable.  She brought life to the music in the air and aroma of fresh baked bread.  Could the same be said of your employees?  Or put another way, does the “luck of the draw” determine the experience your customers receive or do you have the confidence every employee creates those WOW moments each day for every customer?

Of course, when I complimented Ella’s service and asked for her photo she lit up even more and told me how much she enjoyed what she does.  Funny thing…I already knew that.  Every business needs more “Ellas”.  Here’s hoping yours does. And if not, it’s time to start finding them.  Bon a petit!

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