Last weekend we met some friends for dinner at one of the newer restaurants in our area. I had heard from another friend that not only was it good but it was a little pricey too. Hmmm I thought. What was I thinking when I said yes to such a night out? After all, this has been a tough year for me personally and spending money on a pricey meal was not the smartest thing to be doing right now. But I had already said yes so off we went.
It was pouring down rain and stormy when we arrived. Not a good way to start an evening out that is for sure. But start we did as we all arrived at our reserved time. We were promptly greeted by a friendly hostess who took us to our reserved table. After making sure we were comfortable before she left she then offered to remove and store our wet umbrella's. What a nice gesture I thought as I handed her mine.
Soon a young man arrived, introduced himself and welcomed us to the restaurant. He then offered us water, actually a choice of 3 different waters. We gave our selections and as he left to fill our request our waitress came by and introduced herself. As she looked at each of us she asked 'Have you dined with us before or is this your first visit?' She smiled as we all said 'first visit' and then settled into a rhythm of making sure we were comfortable with what she knew was going to be a memorable evening for us. Our drink orders were taken and the specials given with great delight. Before long we each gently settled in and relaxed as the stormy night we came through to get there became but a faded memory.
As the evening continued the service kept it's beautiful rhythm that was so expertly began by our hostess. Each visit from the waitress, server or course being delivered was done so with much fanfare and an almost systematic approach. It was as if each server had been graced in the fine art of giving extraordinary customer service as they orchestrated the presentation and delivery of an evening of delicious food. Even though the restaurant was full and we, quite obviously, were not they're only customers, we always felt as if we were.
My friend was right. The food was mouth watering delicious and the price tag at the end was well, just as I had been told, pricey. Yet as we paid the bill and added the tip, price became a minor concern for all of us. Instead we all were, at that very moment, basking in the glow of being the recipients of excellant customer service. Yes, the customer service we received made paying for a pricey meal a pleasant experience and one we were happy to be making.
This week I have been thinking a lot about the customer service I received at that restaurant. And I have been thinking about how my customer service matches up. I must admit that I have always thought my customer service was pretty darn good as over the years I have systematically tweaked and fine tuned dozen of times as I learn or experience something new.
But here I was wondering once again. Does my customer service match the service I received that night I went out for dinner last weekend? In an economy like we are in now where finding deals, spending less and holding onto every penny is the mantra, here I was, we were, customers gladly spending money because we received something very special. We received extraordinary customer service.
So I sat down once again and went over my systems, my offerings, my way of making my customers feel special. And once again I thought of new ways to take my customer service up a notch. A little more offered here, a little more care there.
How interesting that a night out that started with me thinking how expensive it was going to be was able to teach me a lesson. A lesson that I may never have learned had I said no to eating there that night.
Allowing customers and clients to bask in the glow of extraordinary customer service is where the fruits of our labor truly shine in today's economy. It is a wonderful feeling to give and receive in a market that does not offer many such feelings.
Now, after all is said and done I can actually say... my dinner out that night was 'PRICELESS'
Who would have thought.