A few months ago I had business in Ogden, Utah, and checked into the Hilton Garden Inn. After settling into my room, checking some email, and prepping for the next day, it was time for dinner.
I was in the mood for a nice steak. Nothing fancy or expensive, but I wanted something more than a burger or fast food. Not knowing the area, I visited the front desk to ask for a suggestion. I received an immediate reply, “Hmmm . . . I don’t know. Try the sports bar across the street.”
A sports bar? Doubtful they would have any beef other than a burger. But I wanted a steak. Unfortunately for me, the Hilton employee didn’t seem to keen on helping me, the customer, satisfy my craving.
Is there anything wrong with “I don’t know” customer service? No. As long as it’s followed with a cheery, “but let me find out.” Could that Hilton employee have done anything to help relieve my steak craving? Sure! Ask the other check-in person who was sitting in the room behind him. Walk across to the restaurant area and ask any of the four people working over there. Think about my question for more than two seconds!
Compare this customer experience to my recent restaurant outing in Tulsa. It wasn’t steak this time, it was pizza. While visiting family, my sister, brother-in-law, and I decided to have salad and pizza from a nearby restaurant, The Upper Crust. My sister called in the order and I drove the three or four minutes to pick up our order.
Returning home, we laid everything on the counter and were disappointed to find the order was wrong. No big deal -- I was willing to drive back to the restaurant to pick up the corrected order. After explaining the mistake by phone to the Take Out person, my sister received a hearty “We're sorry. We will deliver your food in just a few minutes.”
But The Upper Crust doesn’t deliver!
About five minutes later (I still don’t know how they got there that fast!), we heard a knock at the door and were greeted by the manager. The manager! Anyone could have delivered the food but the manager took it into his own hands to turn our experience around. And then I heard the best customer service line ever:
“Thanks for allowing me to make this right.”
For the rest of the evening, we really never thought about the wrong order. We did, though, think about how fast that manager changed our experience.
What’s the difference between the Hilton Garden Inn in Ogden and The Upper Crust in Tulsa?
Good customer service is easy – just do your job. Exceptional customer service is also easy, at least the concept is. Do whatever you can to not just satisfy the customer, but to truly delight the customer. Sadly, even though the concept is easy, there aren’t enough caring people who take those extra steps to delight.
So thanks to the manager at The Upper Crust in Tulsa. I’ll be back for another pizza soon!
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.