Customer service, how should it be done? That’s a cinch.
Some people, however, would argue otherwise, contending it would be much easier to debunk the Big Bang Theory or define how the universe was created out of ‘nothingness’. Well, let’s leave such hyperboles to sitcom writers and renowned theoretical physicist and author Lawrence Krauss, respectively.
When it comes to experiencing customer service, we all intuitively and rationally know what to expect and what we want delivered. Let me advance an anecdote, universally applicable, from my second favourite past-time – eating – that will clarify first-rate customer service. Bets are off on my primary passion.
It’s your wedding anniversary. To surprise your darling, you have made a 7:30 p.m. reservation at a swank Italian ristorante in the entertainment district and have theatre tickets to see Sarah Brightman sing ‘Music of the Night’ from The Phantom of the Opera.
You arrive a few minutes early in your Armani best with your sweetheart at your side looking better than Evita at the height of her public adoration. The attendant apologetically says that there is no reservation and no openings. You stand there stunned and immobile. Inwardly, you would like to perform surgery without anaesthesia even though your mind tells you that sometimes good people make mistakes. Perhaps a coffee and croissant at the ubiquitous Tim Hortons will have to do.
As you prepare to leave, the maître d’ walks over. He looks suspiciously like the same gent who played the hotel manager in the movie Pretty Woman. He implores you to return after your musical, wanting to remedy the unfortunate circumstance.
Much later, you reluctantly return to the scene of the disservice. The place is packed. It reminds you of once being stranded in the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City during a traffic jam on route to the Inman Conference.
Instinctively, the maître d’ reintroduces himself and thanks you for giving his ristorante another chance. He escorts you to his office which, in total wonderment, has been transformed into an intimate dining lounge for two. Candles burn delicately and music sprays seductively from hidden speakers.
The sous chef serves the meal. A stout sommelier pours award-winning lustrous red wine while crooning Perry Como’s “And I love you so.” You are enthralled. Your wife of 25 years wants to remarry you.
Finally, with a big smile, the maître d’, graciously and sincerely, insists that the entire experience is complimentary, including the waiting taxi to take you home. He bids you “ciao” and invites you to come back any time.
That’s customer service.