With the trend towards mega-stores and even hyper-stores, it is easy for the customer to be distanced from management by the sheer size of the operation or the speed of turnover. It is thus so refreshing to discover stores that still retain the friendliness of the proverbial “village shop”.
In a small-town post office, I noted a whole wall of historic sweet jars filled with an amazing variety of tasty morsels. On enquiry, I discovered, to my delight, that I could choose any combination I fancied. They would be weighed out individually. Of course, I was like a youngster in a toyshop. Such “mini moments of adventure” enrich the day – even the week!!
Some small restaurants also provide a wide variety of choices and even encourage further tweaking of the menu. The answer “Try me” to the comment, “Do you know what I really fancy?” makes my day and is so simple really – the cost to the management is minimal if anything. The long-term benefits for the company can be considerable as customers return regularly to such creative eating places.
In South Africa, I frequented a well-known steak-house chain, not so much for the steaks but for their delicious apple pie. They marketed the most generous slice of apple pie I’ve found anywhere. Usually, I would go for the half-slice portion, which I found, was more than adequate. When ordering, the standard question was “Would you like cream or ice-cream with your apple slice, Sir?” One day I commented, a little cheekily, “Do you know what I would really like?” The waitress asked me to share my wish …. So I did: “Real English custard” “Just a moment, Sir” she replied. Soon I was being handed a wonderful appleslice dripping with freshly made custard. She explained that the chef was British and always enjoyed the opportunity to make some custard…… So creative friendliness can do wonders.
In one of our local restaurants, I was entertaining some friends for a light lunch. I’d not been to the venue before but soon took a liking to it. The atmosphere, decoration and view from the window all made me feel at home. On the menu, I noticed a generous portion of chips as a side-order and asked if they might garnish it with some salad topped off with a few slices of cold chicken. Amazingly, they were very happy to oblige and the snack was more than expected as well as being within my budget which always helps. Since then I have been back to check out if that special snack was a “one-off” kindness or could it be repeated. The indication was that the special menu could be prepared anytime. This is good news. They potentially have a new regular customer throughout the year as a result of thoughtful customer care.
Here is a letter I drafted after receiving very thoughtful care when arriving for an evening event at a large company venue in London…
Have just turned to your company website in order to locate a contact email and have located yours. Would be most grateful if you could pass on this note to the appropriate person within…..
In March, I attended an evening function at…… and was most impressed by the welcome given to a function delegate. I arrived early in order to locate the venue and then to spend some time exploring the area. The reception officer kindly suggested that I take a break in the coffee area and enjoy some refreshment before taking a stroll. He also offered to put my overnight travelling case in safe custody until I return making my journey easier.
While enjoying my refreshment another staff member came to ensure that I was comfortable. Later the welcome at the reception itself was excellent. The pleasant and skilful blend between caring for a guest in a professional manner while retaining a very natural and family-like atmosphere was very special. It has been rare during 25 years of international travel on behalf of a non-profit project and a decade or so with an International School Agency, that I have encountered such care and thoughtfulness.
As you can imagine, I have shared this incident several times already and have recommended the services of the company to others. My intuition tells me that if such intricate and seamless care is taken with one visitor then one can with confidence recommend the services of such a company.
Thank you for your kind assistance,
A restaurant that I visit from time to time – The Gorge in Blandford Forum, Dorset – is one of my favourites. The service is really excellent. The special feature for me is that you can tailor-make your own meal. The choice is amazing and even if it is not on the published or displayed menu, then you can still ask and it is often possible. Such client-care is so welcome and enables one to enjoy the meal of your choice. The location too is just right for me as it is close to a bus stop that connects several services. Well worth a visit.