Saturday, April 12, 2008

Customer Service

I took the wife out for her birthday (a little belated) last night. We went to Gustav's (tasty: I recommend the Mediterranean sandwich). Our server did fine--she was helpful. But then, one of my pet peeves: the manager walked up and asked us "Is all of the food all right?" I've never known why this bothered me, but Wife pointed it out last night...good customer service is supposed to be nonintrusive...barely noticeable. It's just supposed to happen. When the manager intervenes, it disrupts. Plus, if the food were not good, we'd definitely have told the server. Why disrupt us?

I think I know why. I went ahead and filled out a comment card...wrote that our server was great, the food was fine, and we hate being interrupted by the manager. The next question was this: "Did the manager visit your table? ___Yes ___No". It's obviously Gustav's policy to have the manager interrupt your meal. Guys...change the policy. It's lame.

Part two of the birthday was a trip to Cinetopia to see Smart People. (The film was fine...a little bit dark for my tastes, although I think I'm developing a little crush on Ellen Page.) Man, gotta love those leather stadium seats and the fact that nobody's head is EVER in front of you, even if you're sitting behind Gheorghe Muresan. But the adventure in customer service there, a positive one, happened after the show. I went to take a leak, and was stepping up to the urinal and exposing necessary portions of my anatomy when something fell off the wall onto my foot. I thought it was a tile from the wall; it turned out it was the little flimsy metallic door that opens up to some plumbing and insulation behind it. I was unhurt, but a little freaked...the door that hit my foot could have hit something else. Yow.

I notified the usher of what had happened, because they obviously needed to know that a little
flimsy metallic door was laying next to the urinal. I was honestly prepared to let that be that, but the manager walked up. Swankette thinks that the manager saw from the conversation that something was awry, which it was. He heard the story, handed me his business card, and said "Next time you come here, please call me and let me know. We'll do something nice for you."

Great customer service, that. We're planning on taking the in-laws there soon, and we'll call in advance and see what happens.

Of course, when I call and say "Hey, I'm the guy who had a metal door fall on his foot while taking a leak in your theater/restaurant," do you think he'll remember me?

Me too.


Joe said...

Regarding visits from the manager, tone makes all the difference in the world. When the manager asks "is the food allright," it worries me... is there something I have to watch out for?

On the other hand, I've met some nice managers who were genuinely proud of their establishments, and wanted to know if I was enjoying my _evening_. And that makes me feel valued and comfortable.

So the message from me might be "if you're going to interrupt, have a higher goal than being allright."

Marc said...

agree that great customer service should be subtle.