Customer Service or Client Relationship?
I had a great and humbling customer service experience yesterday. The Warburton Curry Club is just a couple of years old and already proving to be both an asset and a satisfier of local gastronomic need!
For those that know me, you will know that I like it hot! I also love the fact that a good life involves adding some (okay in my case a lot) of spice! We share dinners or lunches at The Warburton Curry Club with many a passing family member or friends. Sometimes they are surprised that in the town of Warburton, in the wine growing region of Victoria’s Yarra Valley, we have excellent Indian Cuisine to match the many vineyard labels.
Having been interstate lately, I have missed my frequent ‘fix’. Yesterday after my regular healthy walk, I decided to use my wife’s car to give it a run as she will not be using it for at least a couple of months. Well, the magnetism and vibrations between me and the Warburton Curry Club must have taken hold of me as I found myself pulling over to order a take-away!
Nav, one of the owners gave me the warmest of welcomes. He was surprised to see me on my own, said he missed seeing me, and was even more surprised that I wanted a take-away. He instinctively recited my preferences from the menu which I endorsed with a ‘thumbs up’ and proceeded to the kitchen to advise the Chef. The Chef had seen me, overheard the conversation and immediately began to work. Nav came back, invited me to sit down with some papadums and he poured me some Indian Rum – on the rocks ofcourse!
Now having mastered the Indian restaurant menus in all the countries I have travelled to, some basics have become genetically embedded. My main dish was Chicken Tikka Masala. Guess what folks, every Indian restaurant offers this and if it is not on the menu, just a mention will see it served to you. By the way, Chicken Tikka Masala is actually an English creation from Indian menu essentials!!!!!!!!! But I liked it cooked in a particular way with just the right degree (off the scale in my case) of chilly heat! Nav and his business partner and the Chef have got to know my taste buds after some disbelieving early attempts at satisfying me. Now it is produced perfectly each time. (The good thing for me is that few people I eat with can share it as their palate is not quite so tempered by the heat!).
Then came my order for me to take away. As I stood up, I realized I was still in my walking attire, and ofcourse, I did not have my wallet, neither was I in my own car wherein I could have scraped together some parking meter money to pay for my dinner! Nav looked at me and smiled and said: Don’t worry – catch you the next time you are passing!
Now that is beyond just Customer Service. To me it is the epitome of what Excellent Client relationship is all about. Know the person who is your customer beyond just the commercial transaction. Build a relationship that is genuine and not superficial. Remember your customer and know the relationship you have. Respect the individual. Communicate with head and heart. Listen to feedback and evolve from it. Cement the relationship with gestures of appreciation. And then the good man Nav said. Whilst your wife is interstate looking after her ailing Mother, tell them I am praying for them. And if you do not have time to cook, just give me a call and I will personally deliver to your door!
Just as I was leaving, a lady was also departing ahead of me with her takeaway. She stopped at the door having looked into her carry bag and turned back and said to Nav. Sorry, but I did not order this packet of papadums. Nav just said – It is our way of saying thank you. It’s with our compliments! Her face lit up.
As a Business Mentor and Business Coach, I work with a lot of organizations and small businesses. There is no such thing as a business which does not sell goods or services in some way shape or form. We all need customers. We need regular customers. We need satisfied or even better, delighted customers. We need customers who will recommend us to others – for that indeed is the best reference you can have. By the way, The Warburton Curry Club is not a client of mine. I am a customer of their service and eating experience.
A few of my clients now well versed with the ROQUE Methodology use it like this:
R = Reality Now:
The actual circumstances. Nav has come to know me and has developed a respectful and trusting relationship. His kitchen knows what I want yet is always prepared to change, explore or recommend. His service is tuned to genuine excellent customer exchange and the best cuisine for his restaurant.
O = Options:
Nav could have offered me the menu whilst he carried on with what he was doing. He could anticipate my preferences. He could have let me find my own chair whilst I waited. He could have said he would hold my order until I went home to get the payment. He could have requested I sign an IOU!
Q = Quest:
A decision from choice with Head and Heart: Nav treated me as a friend with a welcome fit for an honoured guest. He gave me a regular restaurant table rather than be seated where the Takeaway queues form. His relationship with me allowed him the confidence to anticipate my order. He chose to offer me a snack and a drink whilst I waited.
U = Unique Needs:
In order for him to meet my order, he first ensured that the Chef had the instructions so my waiting time would be minimized. He made sure he spoke with the Chef about my special tastes. He made sure I was comfortable. Whilst maintaining his sociable courtesy, he allowed me the space to work on my smart phone.
E = Execution:
He delivered my order most efficiently. I had the most delightful taste bud experience at home. And here I am compelled to writing and broadcasting this testimonial for superb service. Yes, Execution is all about doing it again and again with consistency, quality and that ‘more-ish’ experience for the service provider and the customer.