Last night, I decided to take my better half to dinner at this new Caribbean fusion restaurant in North Miami. The experience I had last night, prompted me to write this blog on this beautiful Sunday in South Florida.
Let me start by saying that I had heard about this restaurant a month ago. When I called to make an appointment, the person who picked up the phone was the opposite of welcoming. Despite the unwelcoming telephone encounter, I still decided to give this restaurant a second chance.
The restaurant was easy to find. It is located in one of the nicer neighborhoods in North Miami. On the outside, the establishment sign is obvious and very well lit. Parking was a breeze. Both indoor and outdoor seating were available. As you walk in, you are greeted by a cordial host and the venue is small but very chic. There were 6-7 patrons present when we walked in.
Our meals came pretty quickly. Our waitress was friendly and attentive. The food was very good. The ambiance was good. There was music playing in the background. A large projector TV was on a news channel. The prices were reasonable. As the night progressed, the place became more crowded. The owner of the restaurant came out a couple of times to address some technical issues with the sound system, but did not interact with the guests. After our meal, we were satisfied, so we left and headed home.
On the way home, my customer service brain turned on and I started to ask myself what would make me go back to that restaurant? There are a few restaurants that I have been consistently frequenting for the past 10 years. What was the difference between the establishment last night and the ones that I could go to with my eyes closed and my expectations always addressed? What could the owner of that restaurant have done to ensure that I remain his customer for the next 100 years?
I will outline several customer service principles that hold true in any place of business. While they can be applied to businesses that have been around for 20 years years, most importantly they must be applied to new businesses that hope to remain in business for the next 100 years.
Principle Number 1: The manner in which the ancillary staff interact with customers is a reflection of the business leadership’s customer service beliefs
What if after I had the poor interaction with that person on the phone, I decided not to give that restaurant a second chance? When I found out about this restaurant, I was very excited. I had told some of my friends about it; but told them to hold off visiting the place because of that phone interaction. Many Caribbean business owners fail to realize the potential catastrophic effect of the wrong tone, the wrong words, or the wrong body language expressed by any member their staff.
The ancillary staff at a business, their conduct, their affect, and the way they are dressed, is a direct reflection of the leadership of that organization and its core beliefs. Who makes up the ancillary staff at a restaurant? The host, the bartender, the waitress, the person who cleans the tables, the person who cleans the floor: EVERYONE.
How do you ensure that your staff is communicating with your customers in a manner that makes them want to come back for the next 100 years? The short answer: hire the right people, provide customer service training prior to their start date and throughout their tenure, inspect what you expect, and engage your staff to keep them engaged at work.
Principle Number 2: Don’t underestimate the power of a name or a handshake!
Kissinger Goldman, DO.MBA
CEO Bluewater Marketing & Consulting LLC
Promoting Caribbean Enterprises is our passion!
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