Most days I am thoroughly underwhelmed by mediocre customer service experiences.
It amazes me that in a competitive marketplace how little emphasis seems to be placed on providing outstanding service, especially when we know that personal recommendations are key in helping people make purchasing decisions, whether buying a new product or choosing what charity to support.*
If you receive poor or mediocre service you might not say anything. You just might not return. If the service is diabolical you probably will tell the world in order to stop anyone else having he same bad experience, or sometimes to give the diabolical service provider the opportunity to put it right. (You can see some of the best diabolical service complaints letters that went viral here)
So when something exceptional happens it really stands out. Something exceptional happened this week and I want to tell you about it.
I went for lunch with a friend at the Oxo Tower Brasserie on London’s Southbank. It’s on the 8th floor and has stunning views over the city. It was her birthday.
We had a delicious meal and while we were waiting for coffee something unexpected happened. Our waiter, Marco, arrived at our table with a plate with Happy Birthday written on it in chocolate sauce accompanied with a scoop of ice cream with a candle in it.
My friend thought I had arranged it. (For a fleeting moment I thought of taking the credit, but I had to confess I hadn’t been that thoughtful.)
I asked Marco how he knew. He said he had overheard us talking when we toasted with our wine earlier and he thought it would be a nice thing to do.
It was more than a nice thing to do. It was awesome.
So a scoop of ice cream with a candle on is no big deal. The big deal was that someone was paying attention to us, understood that it was a special occasion and took the time and effort to do something to make us feel special.
Exceptional service like that is so rare. Yet in a competitive marketplace if you don’t offer exceptional service how do you get your customers to return and recommend you to others? The same applies to your supporters and donors.
It takes a bit of extra effort – but the result was that Marco and the Oxo Tower Brasserie stands out in a crowded marketplace of average experiences.
So thank you Marco for being a brilliant waiter and making our day. You are awesome. We will be back.