Once a year I just want to go out to dinner and consume massive quantities of calories. When I don´t know what I want, say barbecue or Mexican, my gorgeous wife and I head to The Cheesecake Factory, a chain of restaurants noted for huge portions, a big selection, and tasty cheesecake.
We arrived there Friday evening to be greeted by a hostess with a smile who answered my question, "How long is the wait?" before I asked it. Half an hour to fifty minutes we were told. We sat on a couch in the lobby and started people watching. My attention was drawn to the main hostess who greeted every customer with a smile, explained the wait, and answered other questions. I also watched her interact with her co-workers during quiet moments; frequently laughing at something they said or did.
After we finished our meal, I walked up to her on the way out and told her I thought she was the best hostess I´d seen in a long time. She was excited to hear that and immediately asked if I would tell her manager.
I could tell by his body language as he approached that he either didn´t know what to expect or expected a complaint. Needless to say, he was very pleased when I explained why I wanted to talk with him.
We only chatted for a minute. He was busy, and my wife and I wanted to continue our night out. I didn´t get a chance to ask if he had been the one who hired her, and if he had chosen her for hostessing over waitressing because of her competencies.
But I do know that both she and the manager were extremely pleased with my compliment. I had made someone´s day (or evening) and I felt good.
Two thoughts occurred to me later. First, the hostess plays a key role in delivering legendary customer service. It´s as important to hire a service natural for that position as any other. Especially since that host or hostess creates the all-important first impression.
Second, when you see an example of legendary customer service, compliment the person and bring it to that person´s boss. Then check that company´s Web site to see if you can e-mail them to report the positive experience. You´ve heard of viral marketing? We need to virally encourage the spread of great customer service.
Customer service does not come from a manual"?¦ It comes from the heart. When it comes to taking care of the customer"?¦you can never do too much and there is NO wrong way if it comes from the heart.
–Deborah J. Fields, President, Mrs. Fields, Inc.