Swimming in Crab Bisque – The Best Compliment You can Receive

photoRestaurants near the beach are always unique.  Menu items you can’t get anywhere else and the freshest tasting seafood around.  A recent trip to Orange Beach with friends took me to Shipps Harbour Grille.  The 45-minute wait gave us some time to hang out so we waited at the bar and decided to order an appetizer before dinner.  Enter Kathy.

At her suggestion we ordered the Pepper Fried Shrimp (Gulf shrimp, panko, blue cheese, spicy butter sauce, pepper glaze) which was amazing.  Then we asked her any suggestions for dinner.  That’s when it got fun.  She won’t eat tuna anywhere else.  Their Black Sesame Tuna is a local favorite.  The Coconut Grouper is great if you are ready for something a little sweet.  We asked her about the Crab Bisque.  She didn’t bat an eye and said, “I would bathe in it, it’s that  silky smooth!”  Yes you read that right.  Our group rolled in laughter but she had made a great point and let us know how much she loved the food there.

Our table was ready soon and our great service continued but it was Kathy who made such an impression on us. We had a great dining experience and it began before we ever sat down at a table.  Kathy loves what she does and she’s good at it.  In fact she demonstrated three elements of great customer experiences.  Perhaps your team can learn a thing or two as well.

She knew her products.
Kathy not only works at this restaurant; she is a patron too.  She quickly and easily shared the highlights of every item on the menu.  Why? She had tried them! Who better to describe decadent desserts or savory dishes than someone who has actually tasted them?  In your business, what could this look like?  Hotel leaders: have your employees slept in one of your rooms so they can describe a bed’s comfort?  Retailers:  have your employees had to return an item so they know what customers experience?  Bankers:  do your employees also bank with you so they can easily explain the differences in your accounts?  And the list goes on and on.

Her endorsement went beyond a menu recommendation.
When Kathy described the restaurant’s tuna entree she added an interesting comment, “I won’t eat tuna anywhere else.”  Now that’s an endorsement!  There is a wonderful pride in the business when employees also choose you even when they don’t have to.  That mere statement Kathy told us that night spoke volumes about the restaurant’s food.  And what’s interesting is she didn’t have to share that last little statement with us.  At that moment, her comments become personal.  In your world, how do your employees describe your goods or services?  If they have experienced them, how personal do their recommendations become?

She made our wait enjoyable.
Remember that 45-minute wait for a table?  We didn’t.  Why?  Kathy made the wait enjoyable.  In between customers she chatted with us and learned where we were from.  That turned into conversations about sports, music and attractions in Tennessee.  Bottom line: She interacted with us in a way that made our wait enjoyable.  It’s those “people skills” we hope our employees have.  In your world, does every person who interacts with your customer have the people skills to make “waits” less frustrating?  If not, there’s your service starting point.

By the way, our dinner was amazing.  And yes, that crab bisque was the best I’ve ever tasted. Our experience was memorable.  And because of that, we have told others.  Hmmm…isn’t that our goal in the service business?  Here’s to your “crab bisque” and your “Kathy”.  I hope you have an employee just like her.

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