Sep. 5, 2012
Every once in a while you experience a level of customer service that reminds you how very important it is. Sure, good customer service is noticed when it occurs. On the flip side, poor service makes you grumble and possibly even prompts a word with someone in charge depending on your level of dissatisfaction. But when an experience jumps out at you as uniquely superior, it really drives home how much of a difference excellent customer service can make.
I recently visited a local restaurant for the first time (J.W. Chen’s for those of you who are South Bend residents). Walking in, my party was greeted and directed to an available table by a member of what appeared to be a large and bustling staff. Water was served and menus handed out – polite but standard restaurant procedure so far. When we were ready to order, the exceptional part of our experience began. J.W.’s owner, Jean, pulled up a chair at our table and commenced what I now think of as the ordering interview. She inquired whether we had ever been in before, what we usually order at a Chinese restaurant, what type of meal we were looking for that evening, if we were adventurous with spices and textures. Then she proceeded to point out menu items that we should consider trying and explained how they could be tailored specifically to our tastes. By the time Jean left our table, I felt that our party had been personally welcomed to the restaurant and was confident that we were going to be served a great meal. We weren’t disappointed and I have since learned that Jean’s personal attention to diners is her standard practice and is something that her restaurant is well known for.
This is a perfect example of what I believe elevates service to a level that is memorable and influential - the ability to make your customer or client feel as if they are your sole focus at that moment. Acknowledging that even the highest levels of service cannot make up for an inferior offering (if the food had fallen short, I wouldn’t be in any hurry to return to J.W. Chen’s), client service that goes the extra mile is a golden opportunity to stand out in the crowd. And if you’re passing up this opportunity, odds are you have at least a competitor or two who won’t be.
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