Power of the Pen – Use It for Customer Service
Authored by Linda Peters-Getchell
As you might well have realized, I am a real believer in exceptional customer service. Success as a business owner – restaurants included – is so much in how we make people feel about doing business with us.
Here is yet another example of customer service – gone GOOD.
We needed new blinds for a window and sliding glass door. I called several places, received estimates and decided upon the blinds and the company. The woman who was the sales representative took her time with me, offered suggestions and stood on her head to meet a deadline we had (we were expecting company). I signed on the dotted line and off she went.
Next day in the mail arrived a brightly colored envelope, hand addressed. I opened it to find the same brightly colored note card with a hand-written note thanking me for my business and a telephone number if I needed any help or had questions.
It wasn’t on company stationery, just a personal note on personal paper. And she did not leave it at that. She followed through with a phone call a few days later to see if I had heard from the installers that the blinds were in.
I had not, so she called them, called the manufacturer, and called me back to assure me they would be delivered and installed before our company arrived.
Good service and follow-up are expected, not always received, but expected. Hand-written-thank-you notes go a long way to make someone feel that their business is really appreciated. When I need more window treatments, who do you think will be the first person I call?
I got to thinking how easy it would be for a restaurant to send hand-written thank -ou notes to a customer who booked a large party, to regulars who support you, to a member of your own staff who has done something outstanding. In fact, a note to a staff member or regular customer who makes the paper for coaching a Little League team, or winning a golf tournament, or celebrating a promotion would really be outstanding. The list of possibilities goes on.
When I was in high school I had a summer job in the local bank. I tended to the lock boxes, filed, and the first thing I did every day was to read the paper and clip out articles about local people, including employees. Then I sent a congratulations note and included the newspaper clipping. That was a hundred years ago, but the idea is still a good one.
What might you do in your restaurant to take advantage of the lost art of hand-written thank you notes?
Remember there is a lot of power in the pen. Try using it and see what happens.
Linda Peters-Getchell has 20 years in restaurant management and food and beverage customer service. She has owned her own restaurant and catering service, developed unique training programs and won two Key Player Awards for her customer service programs at Showboat Casino Hotel. She is currently a powerful creative force for restaurant expert David Scott Peters and his company, Smile Button Enterprises, serving as Fairy Godmother.