Friday, December 16th, 2011
This post is the tenth in a series that has identified 10 different obstacles that have emerged from my analysis of customer satisfaction data. Perhaps you have encountered one or more of these obstacles in your own business? The tenth obstacle is missed opportunities.
Two years ago, I wrote a blog post titled Missed opportunities. I considered repurposing the content for this post but decided against it. While thinking about the topic, it occurred to me that missed opportunities include failure to provide both expected service (such as those examples found in the above post) as well as unexpected service.
Capitalizing on opportunities to provide unexpected service may actually leave a greater lasting positive impression than providing service the customer already expects.
Last month, my wife and I joined another couple for dinner at Mizuna in Denver. While taking our drink orders, the waiter, Jimmy, noticed my wife’s struggle to recall her preferred martini order. So he patiently walked her through her options: Gin or vodka? Dirty or not? Up or on the rocks? Olives or a lemon twist? Shaken or stirred?
Once her ideal martini order was sorted out, he took the remaining drink orders and left to retrieve the cocktails. When he returned to our table a few minutes later, he provided my wife with a simple “cheat sheet” that captured all of her preferences to simplify future martini orders. Brilliant!
What impressed me the most about Jimmy’s gesture was that it was completely unexpected. While I expected him to return to the table within a reasonable amount of time with accurate drink orders, I did not expect him to record a “cheat sheet” listing my wife’s preferred martini order.
Another thing that struck me was that Jimmy’s actions were voluntary. While accepting drink orders and delivering them to restaurant guests is a mandatory aspect of a waiter’s job role, taking a minute to create a customized “cheat sheet” for a guest is voluntary.
Lastly, while Jimmy gets paid to take and serve drink orders, his decision to jot down Julie’s martini order cost his employer nothing. And although this gesture was free, it made more of an impression than anything he was paid to do that night.
How about you? What could you do today (that would be unexpected, voluntary, and free) to capitalize on the many opportunities you have to create lasting positive impressions for your customers?