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Chris LoCurto

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August 23, 2011

Oh, so now you’re nice

August 23, 2011 | By | 12 Comments">12 Comments

I’ve noticed a trend at restaurants lately, where some of the servers are going out of their way to be nice…when they hand me the check. It’s funny because it seems like the person who gave me the bill is not the same individual who served me throughout the meal.

I’m not saying they were bad servers or  are mean or anything. They were actually all good. However, when the checks were dropped, I received comments like, “Have a fantastic evening, sir.” These remarks were normally said with an over-the-top tone that was nowhere near the one used to ask me, “You know what you want” So the question is: Has someone started teaching servers that the last impression is the one that gets  them a tip?

If so, someone fire that guy. Each time it has happened to me lately, I adjusted the server in my mind to a bad salesperson. Why? Simply put, if they could be that unbelievably nice at the end of my meal, why weren’t they that way the whole time? In fact, if that was the case, I would have given an extra tip! I can’t help it. I love happy, can-do-anything kinds of servers. It’s probably because I was a waiter once, and I understand how easy it is not to be nice. Consistency should be the goal. Let me think you’re always nice, not just when you want a tip from me.

A classic example of “doing it right” is Chick-fil-A. Every time you enter a store, you are treated consistently well from beginning to end. The staff is courteous and respectful. When you say, “thank you,” they always follow it up with my pleasure.” That’s the kind of customer service that makes you want to tip big!

Interestingly enough, the wait-until-the-end phenomenon isn’t just for servers. In fact, you’ve probably noticed it in several different places. How about the rude receptionist who suddenly realizes you might actually say something about them to the person you’re meeting with? All of a sudden, they are as sweet and as interested in you as they can be.

To me, the issue is people not going the extra mile to make all customers feel amazing through the whole process of the transaction. There may be a ton of good reasons that they aren’t “feeling it” that day, but none of them matter in the eyes of the customer. All they know is the experience with that person. And that can be the difference on whether the customer returns or not.

As leaders, it’s our job to make our team successful. Part of that is ensuring they have all the tools necessary to do their job, including instruction on serving customers each and every time they interact with them. Be excellent in the ordinary. The goal is not to shine when the moment is right. It’s to shine the whole time. Then, every moment is right.

Question: Have you noticed the same actions happening? If so, where?

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  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric Speir

    This is a good point to make. As leaders it is our job to make sure that our people understand what is expected of them. If we don’t spell it our for them we cannot expect them to understand it. When we do not communicate effectively we can only look in the mirror and point our finger at the person we see!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Amen brother!

  • http://twitter.com/ColetteMarx Colette Marx (@ColetteMarx)

    I have been to a few restaurants where the service was horrible. I always go back at least once more because I shouldn’t judge a place directly from their employees. But if I go back a second time and receive the same kind of treatment, I don’t go back.

    I’ve never been a waitress, but I have worked in retail. Sometimes you can actually help a customer’s day just by being nice and a little more attentive. If they come at you like a bear, and you keep your cool and stay nice, sometimes they see the errors in their way and apologize. I did have a few of them end up thanking me and said I brightened their day. But, there is also a reverse to this. If we as a customer are having a bad day, there is no need to take it out on the poor soul who happened to be helping us.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Amen Colette! That happens all to often.

  • Teresa Duke

    One thing that really bugs me is people who are rude at the checkout at grocery stores or department stores. They often act like you’re a bother because you are wanting to pay for merchandise you bought from them and rarely say “thank you” any more.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Yeah, they just don’t seem to get that your transaction pays their salary. Thanks T!

  • http://gravatar.com/lgthaxton Louise Thaxton

    Chris – I have to say I loved what you said about including instructions to our team on serving customers each and every time they interact with them -and about being excellent in the ordinary. In fact, I will probably quote you!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Please feel free to!!

  • http://rebarron.wordpress.com Eric Barron

    I have discovered that in most instances, the attitude of the server is directly affected by my attitude within the first 30 seconds of meeting the server, male or female. If I am outgoing, polite, and even fun, the server most often responds the same way. And, I agree… Chick-Fil-A makes it easy to have an awesome experience!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Good point Eric.

    • http://gravatar.com/lgthaxton Louise Thaxton

      Eric – this is something I have cautioned my team about – consistency of response – not matter the “mood” of the client. When a client comes in with a bad mood or aggravated – don’t be influenced by THEIR mood! WE DON’T KNOW THEIR STORY! They might be having a VERY bad day! We must stay consistent.

      And I want our attitudes to always be right – even when the clients’ is not.

      And you’re right – Chick-Fil-A makes it easy!