Good customer service is the key
Yesterday evening, my husband and I decided to go out for something to eat. It was a bit of a last minute decision so we hadn’t booked anywhere, but being a Wednesday evening we didn’t think that would be a problem. We fancied some Italian cuisine and headed off to an Italian restaurant in a nearby town. We hadn’t eaten there before, but the menu looked good when we’d looked it up online so we thought we’d give it a try. It was part of a chain and as we entered at about 7.40pm, the place was buzzing with a good atmosphere and there appeared to be at least 8 tables available. So far so good. No-one was at the front desk to greet us, but when she had finished chatting with her colleagues at the bar, a member of staff came over. She was very smiley and greeted us warmly and asked if we wanted a table for 2. She then asked if we had a reservation, which of course we did not. Her response was, “I’m afraid we’re fully booked”. But there were at least 8 tables available (accounting for at least 32 guests) which we pointed out to her – “they’re all booked” she said. “Really?!!!” I responded. “Nothing available till at least 8.30”. She made no effort to check if they really were all taken and didn’t even try to squeeze us in – there were only 2 of us; we could have sat at a table in the bar. She didn’t even offer for us to come in and wait in the bar. So we turned round and walked out. It was the first time we had visited the restaurant and it will definitely be the last.
We went across the road to another Italian restaurant – this time independently owned, and what a difference! The place looked full through the window and when we got inside I couldn’t see an empty table anywhere. A waiter who was busy serving a table acknowledged us as we walked in and came over to greet us as soon as he could. “Table for two?”. “Yes please,” we replied, “but we haven’t booked”. “No worries” he said and looked through his booking sheet, then went to speak to a colleague. He came back and very apologetically told us they had no tables and it would be 9pm before they did – which was too late so we thanked him and left. As we went back out through the door, another waiter came chasing after us to see if everything was ok. They couldn’t accommodate us but what a difference in attitude. They acknowledged our request, they were empathetic and they tried. We will definitely go back there and we’ll make sure to book next time. We did find somewhere to eat on the way home so we didn’t go hungry!
And the moral of the story is, good customer service, politeness and going the extra mile can take you a long way in business to keeping your customers coming back. Even if you can’t help, sometimes it’s the way you say “No”. At Feelgood Factor we like to think we provide a good service to our clients and it looks as though they think so too as we are pleased to announce that we have been shortlisted as finalists in the Business to Consumer category of the Business Networking Awards 2018. Thank you if you voted for us and fingers crossed for the Awards Gala Dinner on 7 April. But even if we don’t win, we know we’re doing something right, because the Customer is Always Right!