I was quite surprised when Amanda asked me to write an article about said Customer Service, surely she meant chocolate tempering or truffle rolling. But when I stopped and thought about it, this was a subject that I knew a lot about. Both Toby and I have worked in the Hospitality Industry from a young age and of course running your own business depends a lot on how you treat your customers.
In one of the companies we both worked for we were told to “choose your mood”.
This was already something I practiced but it soon became my mantra. I would shout it at all the glum faced staff that turned up to worked on my shifts. Why not come into work and have a great time, it made the time go quicker and really improved customer service. I soon had a following of regular customers who would come in just to be served by me and it was easy to up sell them extra goods and increase the average spend.
People will go where they feel valued and welcomed and will choose great service over great food.
A personal example of this is our recent trip to Las Vegas for our wedding anniversary. Now the Americans really know how to do customer service as that is how they make most of their wages. They have a basic wage and then they make up the extra with their tips.
Our big anniversary meal was booked in at the 3 Michelin Star Joel Robuchon Restaurant in the MGM Grand. We had booked it before we flew and were super excited about the 16 course tasting menu priced at $435 dollars (it was a special occasion).
Well the night before we stumbled across the Gordon Ramsey Steak Restaurant and went for dinner. Now let me just say we went with no expectations, we knew Ramsey could cook, but we thought that this was another one of these celebrity restaurants that just carries the chef’s name, with him only visiting twice a year. Well we couldn’t be more wrong we were blown away.
The food was fantastic and the service was some of the best I have ever experienced anywhere. The waiter who served made a real connection with us without being intrusive. He noticed that we were struggling to choose from the wine list that was given to us on an iPad and came to help us without any prompting. He brought out the raw cuts of meat on a trolley and talked us through each one. He then choose a bottle of wine to match the food we had ordered showing he had a great knowledge of the wine and the food. When I got up to use the ladies he scooped up my napkin that had fallen to floor and refolded it. He kept both our wine and water glasses topped up. Now this was not a stuffy restaurant it was packed in there and with the open kitchen and all the people it was a buzzing atmosphere. Our waiter made our evening and even though he had other tables he never looked rushed and took plenty of time to talk to us. Of course we left him a generous tip and spent the walk back to the hotel raving about it.
The following night we went to the Joel Robuchon Restaurant. We had booked this months earlier and were super excited. The restaurant was super formal and the food and service was impeccable, but there was no “chat”. The staff were almost scared to engage in conversation. Toby and I are both very chatty and will attempt to engage everyone we meet in conversation. These waiters were unbreakable, we asked questions and commented on things, but they were straight faced and sombre.
Surely to key to good service is to match the personality of the person you are serving.
I appreciate that some people wish to be left alone and that is fine but when customers are chatty, you need to chatty back.
The food was some of the best I have ever had. The trolley that was presented with coffee had 50 different chocolates and petit fours on it, and was amazing. But because of the service we received, the meal that will stick in my mind will be the one at the Gordon Ramsey restaurant and it will be there that I rush back to when I return.
If you deliver fantastic customer service then your customers will return to you. Many people buy my chocolate just because they have met me and we had a great conversation about something random.
The saying is very true, People buy People.