Spoon Full of Sugar– Bountiful Business
Last week, I had the pleasure of having breakfast with my fiancé. We stopped at a local French café called Petit Dejeuner in Harmarville, Pennsylvania, right outside the city of Pittsburgh. This little French café is a hidden gem. When I walked through the door, I was taken aback by the entire experience, from walking over the threshold to when we said our goodbyes, and we will certainly be back!
The décor is quite lovely: clean lines, quaint, simply inviting, and just warm. Part of the warmth comes from the cozy fireplace found in the corner of the café, but the warmth also comes from the owners and the kind people waiting on you.
We were welcomed with open arms and thanked a number of times for stopping in. When we sat down to order, the menu was unexpected. When Don’s coffee was served, he called to my attention that the cream was served warm. My cappuccino was perfection—right out of a café in Milan. My toast was accompanied with a homemade strawberry jam that was so fresh, sweet, and delicious! Don’s pancakes were served with warm honey-maple syrup. I’m not a foodie and can’t properly describe the delicious nature of everything (I’ll leave those details up to my friend, Lindsey Smith, at www.foodmoodgirl.com), but everything at this café was perfect!
I write this post to stress the service, kindness, and pure joy of the experience. Our waiter was just so proud and happy to serve us. He was so warm and welcoming. He had an outward expression of truly wanting to serve, and it was obvious that he embraced his role in the café. He wanted us to be satisfied, and he was grateful for our business, profusely thanking us for stopping in and patronizing the establishment. He epitomized a “Servir.”
So, what can we do to service our customers better?
In July of 2016, Psychology Today provided a study that indicates that opportunities to serve others, whether civic, private or charitable, results in a stronger sense of purpose and meaning in life, leading to better mental and physical wellbeing. According to Entrepreneur.com, repeat business is not accidental. It occurs due to a relationship you’ve developed over time by providing superior customer service.
From my perspective, and over the tenure of 30+ years serving clients, I believe the mantra for business service success comes from these guiding principles:
Be kind & friendly (Kindness Matters).
Say “thank you” and express gratitude
Live and breathe your mantra, and know your service or product(s)
Respect your customers with positive communication
Be all ears; be a relentless listener
Learn from what you have heard and implement the feedback to foster a constant learning environment
A+ attentiveness – be quick to respond
Patience perseveres – remain cool and calm
Tenacious tenacity – “If you want to, you will. If you don’t, you won’t
Lead with empathy
Surprise & Delight
Who doesn’t like an unexpected surprise? If you receive something special that was totally out of the blue, doesn’t it make you feel great? If you go above and beyond in surprising and delighting your customers, you will unveil business success while developing a deeper and trusting relationship. When we engage in a typical interaction, we have a set of expectations in our minds, but if you fly higher and raise the bar, you will increase the satisfaction level. Here’s an article on nine brands that did a fantastic job in surprising and delighting: https://www.inc.com/molly-reynolds/9-companies-that-nailed-the-whole-surprise-and-del.html.
I believe that if you get to know your customer intimately, provide an over the top experience and express gratitude for their business, you will reap the rewards of a lifetime customer.
Just like our café experience, our waiter demonstrated a number of these core principals and delivered a superb experience. We felt welcomed, he was beyond attentive towards us and we were surprised and delighted throughout our entire meal—from the warm cream to the departing thank you. We walked away feeling fat and happy.