Monday, November 27, 2006

Is Service Dead?

Tis the season! As we endure the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, nerves are a bit more frayed, wait times a little longer and prime parking spots a little more difficult to find. Just before the initial kick-off of the holiday season, several encounters made me question whether service, or I should say service with a smile is dead.

I went to a well known restaurant chain for a take-out order (which I had called in). I walked in and there was no hostess at the podium so I stood in line to pay for my order. After waiting patiently for 15 minutes, I was told by the manager to step aside because he was busy and would have to check to see if my order was ready. In fact if he had taken three steps to the food prep area he would have witnessed my order being thrown into bags at that very moment.

You see I had been watching the harried waitresses pulling tags and fulfilling orders. I watched as one waitress went from cashier to the food area (with no hand washing in between). I watched her ask about my order and then take the styrofoam container with my slice of pumpkin pie (I know what you're thinking, but we're all entitled to the occasional indulgence and I do skip the crust!) and shove it on top of a whole pie and slam the glass shut crushing the container.

Yet, I stepped aside as he took payment from the dine in customers. I did so because I was curious to see how he would handle the situation. I finally got my order. I was never asked if I needed silverware or condiments, never asked if there was anything else (missed opportunity for an upsell) nor did I ever receive a smile or the customary "come again." Thank you, I won't!

Sadly, this has all too often been my customer experience. Business owners, small and large need to realize that a focus on customer experience will result in greater profits. This is beyond service with a smile but service with a purpose. Without customers, a business will die. So it is hard to understand why more companies do not focus on the centerpiece of their very livelihood.

Customers can help you to correct ineffiencies in your business, fuel your product/service development and grow your business. When a business realizes the true value of its customer, it will soar. I hope that during this holiday season you experience purpose driven service with a smile!

1 comment:

sexy said...