Expected or not, we all recognize good customer service when we experience it. At lunch with a friend, I met an impressive waiter. This blog post is dedicated to Kevin, our waiter, who gained a loyal customer and inspired a blog post (my gratitude was reflected in his tip).
As business owners who want to stay in business know, good customer service benefits an organization well beyond the first encounter with a customer. Along with an exemplary service or product, quality customer service encourages repeat business and, hopefully, prompts people to spread the news about the experience. Here’s what you can learn from Kevin:
- Qualify your customer: Kevin’s first question after he poured water was “Is this your first time here?” He wanted to know if we were new or existing customers. My friend was a repeat diner and I was new. Even repeat customers can learn something new especially if there is something new to talk about. For example, the restaurant instituted a new policy where some of the winter salads could be ordered as a split. As a result, we sampled several dishes.
- Know your product: The menu was extensive and we had lots of questions. Kevin helped us make decisions about our order by providing detailed information about the dishes and describing what he enjoyed about them. He helped us because he was knowledgeable. As a result, we decreased our chances of ordering something undesirable.
- Differentiate yourself from the competition: Kevin pointed out that the restaurant’s arugula was sweeter than the arugula that he tasted elsewhere. As it turns out, the arugula comes from a local organic farm that grows it exclusively for the restaurant. Why would I eat arugula anywhere else? Communicate that which is special about your business.
- Solve a problem: As I mentioned earlier, we took the opportunity to split several dishes so we had leftovers. Unfortunately, there was that awkward moment when one insists that the other take the leftovers home. Kevin to the rescue: he prepared two small take-out boxes consisting of a little bit of everything, no questions asked.
Kevin’s enthusiasm not only sold us on the house special but the value of great customer service. What do you do to keep your customers coming back?