Better Customer Service from Generosity

generosity and hospitality lead to better customer service

I’ve taught many that hospitality and generosity are the roots of quality customer service and I’ve recently had two separate experiences that have added to my thinking.

1. Shannon, IHOP, East Bidwell St, Folsom, California

It’s a tricky balance at a restaurant and rarely well delivered. Don’t pay enough attention to me and I’m not happy. Pay too much attention to me and I’m annoyed. Shannon knows how to do it and I learned a new rule. It’s “one extra visit.”
So, what are the usual visits if you ‘re going to add an extra?

You know them well:
1. Seat
2. Greeting, menus, specials, drinks
3. Take order (do this in a fun, creative way)
4. Does everything taste right?
5. Still good / desert offer
6. Check / the “last smile”

Great customer service from generosity server with tray and drinksShannon surprised me with one extra visit between #4 and #5. Now, Shannon had also done a lot of other things right, like letting me be a little creative about my order. She also engaged in conversation and gave me control over the pace and duration. (Note: conversation paceĀ  is critical to learn in any service role) The one extra visit, I discovered, was just enough surprise and delight for me to take notice and feel treated as a special guest.

Now, Shannon has the gift, but she also works for Robert, one of the most dynamic restaurant managers I’ve met. He’s got the #1 IHOP in his region to prove it. Robert is a master of making every customer a guest. All guests are made to feel especially welcome. And, employees have fun and work very hard at efficiently serving with enthusiastic hospitality and generosity.

2. Rachelle, Nugget Market, Eldorado Hills, CA

Yesterday I stopped by the prepared foods counter to get some easy dinner. Have you seen the food there? Try the ginger sweet potato mash. Wow!

The real treat was the engaged interest from Rachelle. She was generous – first offering a taste of anything. She then asked how may day was going instead of another question about buying food. Rachelle treated her corner of Nugget as if I’d walked into her home. She was having fun offering great hospitality. And, as it turns out, she’s a second generation Nugget employee! Guess what? Her job is really sales! And, after I selected an entree she asked, “Did you have a vegetable in mind to go with that?” It was an obvious question – but a good one considering the generous and hospitable ground work she’d already done.

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1 comments

In this time of tight finances and stress, this subject is timely. Good customer service tinged with generosity is what keeps me coming back to certain establishments time and again. I just made a switch to the Folsom Umpqua bank from Wells Fargo. At Umpqua, they greet me the minute I walk in the door. I don't have to fill out my paperwork before I walk up to the teller window - they're happy to do it for me. And if I ned any changes made to my account, they just say "I'll take care of it" and allow me to leave rather than wait around while they do it. Umpqua has old, funky ATM machines and they aren't open on Saturdays, but I keep my accounts with them now because their folks are so kind that I actually LIKE going to the bank!

Peet's Coffee in Folsom is another favorite place - I get treated like a guest. We chat, I hear about the newest offerings, and although my drink takes longer to make oh-so-perfectly, I leave there with a smile every single visit.

As an audience-focused professional, I know the importance of generosity, and I often go over and beyond when dealing with a media sponsor, a potential volunteer, and even when speaking to my audience via social media. Generosity with the written word works just as much as it does in person - it makes people feel comfy and cozy with you and/or your brand.