Having dinner in New York recently gave me an insight into what it might be like to be famous. Yes, the food was delicious, the surroundings beautiful. But it was the restaurant staff that really made me feel like a star.
The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park has an enviable lakeside location – and seats at the waterfront tables are a much sought-after commodity. We had resigned ourselves to a wait, but hadn’t bargained on enjoying it quite so much. Thanks to the warm and welcoming response of the front-of-house team (even though they must receive hundreds of similar requests each day), we felt relaxed, happy – and comfortable and we felt as if we were the most important people in the room.
Once seated at our coveted place at the water’s edge, the manager, paid us a visit. He quickly discovered that our table rocked, very slightly and theatrically proclaimed, “A wonky table, that is unacceptable!”. He disappeared for a second or two before returning to fix the problem, proffering us a chilled glass of Champagne and once again making us feel like royalty.
It was an invaluable reminder of the impact of good customer service, and as I looked out over the lake, I realised that there are important lessons to be learned here for all businesses.
He had been empowered to make my experience the best it could possibly be. His only KPI? Making me happy. He had the authority to do whatever was needed (cue complimentary Champagne) and knew that while the whole team could deliver a good experience, he alone had the power to make it great.
Motivated by that knowledge and power, he worked the room, taking the customer experience to a new level. He carried his team along with him, raising their energy levels so the whole restaurant buzzed with excitement and enthusiasm.
It’s easy to overlook the power of the individual, but they really do have the potential to transform your business just as the manager does on a daily basis at Loeb Boathouse. Every member of a team has the ability to deliver a first-class customer experience personally and to inspire their team to do the same.
When competition is fierce it’s not enough to simply talk about offering good service. Clients are looking for businesses that deliver on their promises – every time. When they find a business that does just that, they’ll come back time and time again. And tell their friends. But that advice comes with a serious health warning. That initial outstanding level of service has to continue; it’s no good relying on past reputations, when there are a hundred other businesses vying for your customers’ attention.
If you can empower your team to provide exceptional customer service day in, day out, you will create an army of people who are so motivated that they are the ones who drive repeat custom and take your business to the next level.
So, in a world where customer service has never been so important, we should all be more Boathouse…