Think about your last dining experience. Now name three adjectives that describe that experience. Here’s the catch. If you are the customer, those three words describe your feelings about that experience. If you are the business, those three words likely determine whether that customer will return to your business. It’s a sobering thought in the service world which means who you have meeting each customer can make or break your success.
I had a recent dining experience at The Cheesecake Factory and my experience with our server Angel inspired this week’s thoughts. Why? Her name demonstrated our experience as well.
In your business do you have angels interacting with your customers? Or perhaps some angel-wanna-be’s are the front line of your business? Here are three ways our server Angel made our dining experience so memorable – so much that I had to share the story.
She knew the menu inside and out.
Now if you have ever dined at the Cheesecake Factory your know that is no small feat. When we asked her about differences between the menu insert (which were lower calorie features) and the main menu, she responded quickly and specifically about the differences in ingredients and sauces so we knew what to expect with our selection. I love this example because this restaurant has quite an extensive menu; yet Angel knew it inside and out. Your business may compare to this as well. If so, how are you ensuring your employees understand the breadth or depth of your product selection? The more they know the more quickly they respond. And when that happens, remarkable service occurs.
She had a system to maintain the right level of customer contact.
We were in the restaurant during a busy time (in fact, most timeframes at this restaurant are busy). I noticed Angel had at least 10 tables to take care of. As our party chatted around the table I noticed how Angel “worked” her area. She had a routine to check in what seemed to be every 10-15 minutes with each table. As she refilled a beverage at one table, time had elapsed at another table who needed to place an order. Bottom line: she had a system to rotate her service focus. Let’s face it, in the service industry where customers come and go and are on a timeframe, employees must have a system that ensures that delicate balance is maintained: Touch base periodically enough but not too much to bother them. And Angel did just that. In your world, how often do you talk to your employees about how to manage customer flow and timing? It’s one of those skills that make or break the customer’s perspective of your attentiveness.
She believed in the product.
This is my favorite observation. Above all, it was more than obvious she not only knew the menu but she knew how to describe its items with great confidence. Here is just one example. We were contemplating dessert (I mean it’s the Cheesecake Factory after all!). I had narrowed it down to a two options, one of which was the oreo cheesecake. When I asked her opinion, without hesitation she responded with the oreo choice. And then she replied, “ Oreos are my favorite cookie. And when you combine it with the best cheesecake in the world, how can you go wrong?” Beautiful. Needless to say, I ordered the oreo cheesecake! How about your business? How well do your employees believe in your products or services? While your product may not be something your employees personally use, they should believe in your services and ability to take care of your customers. That boldness and quick response translates confidence to your customers.
So back to our first question. Think about the restaurant experience again. If service examples like the ones we experienced did not come to mind, perhaps it’s time to start shooting for the stars and look for some “angels” of your own.
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