Most business owners recognise the value of good customer service and will say they insist on it from all customer facing employees. But what is good customer service? and how much more difficult is it to deliver GREAT customer service.
In the last six or seven years, my wife, Gaynor and I have visited a local out of town pub, on average, two to three times a month. For a long time it was on our way home from work, comfortable and the food was consistently good. During that time the landlady has remained the same and although, as you would expect, most of the staff have changed, there is a core of regular bar staff and even the other customers have become instantly recognisable.
While I could never really fault the customer service, all the bar staff and the landlady are efficient and friendly when approached or asked for anything, responding without question to anything we’ve needed, we have always commented that there is a lack of recognition and engagement from them; you know the kind of thing, no eye contact on arrival, a welcome smile and a hearty greeting, or even just a smile and hello would be a start. Each time we’ve been it’s as though it was our first visit.
Last week Gaynor and I took some time out to start our Christmas shopping and spent some time in town before deciding it was time for a break for lunch. We went to a busy town centre café bar for a bite to eat and a little refreshment. Ordering two glasses of Prosecco, the barman asked if we were celebrating something, to which I replied ‘just Saturday’ and he smiled. He told me he would chill the glasses before pouring the wine and we exchanged a few more words. His manner was friendly and the service was good.
The real difference came the following day when we returned for round two of the Christmas shopping and decided to repeat the routine of the previous day. Entering the establishment and walking up to the bar, the same barman instantly recognised me, smiling and saying, “hello, you were in yesterday weren’t you, two glasses of Prosecco is it? What are you celebrating today, Sunday?” We both laughed and chatted some more.
The difference between the service experienced in the two bars was HUGE, although the gesture was small and cost absolutely nothing.
As a customer I felt valued, my mood was lifted and I immediately told Gaynor when I returned to our table, leaving later with a vow to return at the next opportunity.
Customer service isn’t rocket science but it’s not enough to simply go through the motions with a plastic smile and your eyes focusing somewhere behind the customers head. It takes a little thought, generosity and a genuine desire to serve with a smile.
Come on guys, it’s a little thing that makes a huge difference!
Member since: 4th July 2012
I am David Ramsden, owner of thebestof bolton.