Saturday night’s alright for … Vietnamese.
That’s not quite how I intended this particular article to kick off but, we’re here now, so … pass the tequila.
Post Saturday Sales Shopping, my friends and I stumbled across a new Vietnamese restaurant in the heart of Paris that had a pretty funky menu (referred to as fusion food in the industry, but exactly what was being fused is anyone’s guess).
It was a pretty big restaurant by Parisian standards, and as we waited to be seated, we realised that pretty much everyone else in the city had discovered it too.
The place was heaving.
It’s tough for a restaurant to cater for its clients well when it’s busy, right?
And that’s exactly what I thought as we sat down.
I anticipated a nonchalant waiter (well, that’s pretty much every restaurant in the city), slow service, confused orders and a thirty minute wait to pay.
Turns out, I was only half right.
Yes, the service was slow and the waiter messed up our order, but it didn’t seem to bother me – they were all just so friendly.
The waiter made little jokes with us after he asked us if we speak English or French (rather than assuming one or the other).
Nobody was bothered when one of my friends helped herself to chopsticks and spicy sauce that were stacked up in the corner (in some places, you’re scowled at for doing that).
Pretty much all the staff said goodbye to us as we left at the end of the night.
Now, that’s not exceptional service, but it got my attention.
Much like a hotel in Cornwall I stayed at last year.
I was digging through my photos of the trip and found this one:
I sneakily took the snap as I was checking out – it aptly concluded my entire experience in that particular hotel.
The fact that an owner was willing to have all that face-to-face time with the hotel residents is a testament to their focus on quality. This, after one of the owners took time to chat to us over breakfast a few hours earlier that day.
Quality and customer service – they’re second to none
It’s what turns a one-time contract into a repeat customer. It gets you recommended to others as a solid service provider. It makes you memorable.
Contrast those experiences with one I had in an Air BNB apartment a few months ago and the difference is shocking (as shocking as underwear being visible through a skirt but not as shocking as … well … nudity in public).
There was a shared kitchen in said apartment, and the window near the sink had this sign:
Not so shocking, I guess, until you see this on another wall …
… which was followed by this …
… and no fewer than FOUR others in the same room.
I felt completely closed in. The owner clearly didn’t trust anyone living there, and assumed everyone coming to stay was just like the random Joe who had stayed that one time and partied with his friends while leaving both the sink and bin full.
In business, integrity is everything
It’s reflected in both the things you write, what you say, and the impression you leave of yourself.
And as unfortunate as it sounds, you’re judged by your actions.
It’s like when, the first time a client questions your work, your go-to response is to quote a line from your contract like it’s a defence shield.
Rather than showing your client you’re willing to talk, you force your aggression to breed theirs.
Or if, when I send you an email, I receive an automated response telling me you only reply to emails between the hours of 6pm and 7pm and the rest of the time you’re [insert something I don’t care about here].
OK, you’re managing your time, but in the same breath, don’t imply emails are an inconvenience that you only have an hour for (especially when you’re running your business online).
The bottom line (not to be confused with bottoms up) is this:
Customers are human beings that have chosen you to spend their hard-earned cash on, to provide a service they believe will make a difference in their lives.
And your job? Is not to disappoint them.
How easy is this when you’re running a business online that doesn’t involve bricks n mortar activities? Head on over to our Facebook group where I give you some examples of impeccable service from businesses I’ve interacted with and what we can all learn from them. Click here to access the group.
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