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:
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”
Shannon 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 pace 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.