When I first wrote my customer service post, I had not planned on writing a second part, but there was something else that I thought was equally important that I learned during my dinner at the Chart House. It is called RESPECT!
The restaurant just oozes class from the second you walk through the door. Rich mahogany, brass railing, beautiful vintage period photographs and gleaming glass with unbelievable views of the ocean. But that's not what makes this restaurant stand out. It is the staff, the attention and respect they show to their guests. It is the demeanor with which they deliver that attention that shows they are a well trained unit with each employee knowing and understanding his/her exact role in the customer service process.
As a real estate investment company, we are always striving to find ways to connect with our clients. It is essential that they know our desire is real and comes from genuinely wanting to show them that we are there partners in success. We find that our clients are not only open and appreciative of our efforts, but they are very willing to support our company because of that service.
Now, the lessons I was watching play out in front of me on this night were just beginning. In every equation, there are always two sides and the experience you receive as a customer can be heavily influenced by your own actions and your own willingness to show respect.
I am a people watcher if ever there was one. I have spent my entire life studying people: their habits, their actions and reactions, their tendencies and interactions - watching and learning from these insights has always been of special interest to me. Watching and learning from inter-actions is one of the most important techniques I have used to grow as a business man.
Keep this point in mind, because in life, opportunities surround you everyday to service the needs of others and build not only a great rapport, but to also remove any barriers that people sometimes put up. You can do this by not only remembering someone's name, but repeating it to them as you ask them questions or make comments. If a host/hostess or server takes the moment to speak with you, make sure you extend the courtesy of pleasantries, by addressing them by name and thanking them for their time and service.
You will absolutely make their day by repeating their name to them. All people respond to hearing their name and everyone I have met genuinely responds when others show them attention.
On this particular night, I watched as many of the restaurant patrons sat oblivious to their servers, the tenders, the hostess - everyone else in there restaurant. I completely understand, and know, that at times we can all get caught up in conversation or our own circumstances. But, I watched this couple work the entire room at every stop and you could tell that they were the center of attention from the staff. It all came from their willingness to show kindness and respect even though they were the client. It certainly paid off in their getting the best table in the house and excellent service all night. I knew I had observed someone with rare people skills and a special talent - someone whom I could learn a thing or two from. As I left that night, I realized that when trying to provide great customer service, sometimes it's the really little things that will make all the difference.
At a restaurant with the reputation for top-shelf service like the Chart House, you do not always see patrons willing to return the pleasantry and appreciation for great service. Often, that service is expected. But watching them, I was reminded of a lesson that I had learned long ago and have carried into my business life ever since. Always treat people the way you want to be treated. When you do, good things happen...
These are the types of lessons that we can all learn, no matter the business we choose to operate or the endeavor we choose to pursue. Great people skills go a long way!