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A Trip That Pays For Itself

Ever have one of those amazing meals you just have to tell everyone about? I’ve been blessed to have had several. One took place in New York City.

I was there for Toy Fair several years ago when a sales rep invited me to dinner. It was a Danny Meyer restaurant, legendary for amazing customer service. Being a customer service junkie, I had read a lot about Mr. Meyer and his restaurants. Needless to say, I was excited.

Image result for gramercy tavernEver have one of those moments where the hype was so high, no one could possibly live up to it?

This was NOT one of those moments. The service was spectacular!! Our waitress anticipated everything we could ever need and was there before we asked. At the end of the meal she came by our table with small goodie bags for each of us. There had been a private party earlier and there were a bunch of leftover truffles that she had, “hand-selected based on what you ordered for dinner and dessert.” Nailed it!

If I owned a restaurant in NYC, I would pay for my wait-staff to regularly eat at a restaurant like that. It would be the best training money could buy. Let them see what awesome service is supposed to look like so that they can offer it when they work, too.

That’s one of the biggest problems with customer service in retail right now. There are so many examples of bad service your staff experience every day that they rarely ever see the level of service you want them to provide. Every day your staff go out into the marketplace and interact with stores that have poor customer service. It is poor to you, the customer service junkie, but to your staff it is the norm. It is all they see.

If you want to make an impact on them in a lasting way, take your marketing budget for this quarter and instead blow it on a weekend retreat for your staff to a Ritz-Carlton with a shopping spree to Nordstrom’s (and if you’re near Seattle, make a side trip to Pike’s Place Fish Market). Show them what true top-notch service looks like. Let them experience it. Then sit down and talk about it.

Ask them what was different. Ask them what made it special. Ask them how it made them feel. Ask them if they would like to be treated this way all the time. Ask them how their life would be different if this was the norm instead of Walmart. Ask them what your store needs to do to be spoken in the same breath as these places.

Your Return on Investment may be the best staff training money you’ve ever spent.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS This post came about from a recent restaurant trip where the waitress was so bad, we wondered if she had ever eaten out herself and had any concept of what a waitress should do. If all your staff has ever experienced is Walmart and Target, they have no understanding when you speak to them about customer service. Help them live a little.

PPS Maybe the Ritz and Nordstrom’s aren’t in your budget. Next best thing to do is give them all a gift certificate to the one place in your town known for legendary customer service, be it restaurant, retail, or other. It will pay off. (Note: if you are that place with the legendary service, keep up the good work!)

PPPS Wonder how Danny Meyer got his team to the pinnacle? Read this article about how he takes care of his team and his customers. It tells you all you need to know.

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