A few weeks ago I wrote about a bad customer service experience and pondered if "a great product or service is an excuse for bad service”
Interestingly, I was recently at one of the competitors of the restaurant I received bad customer service from. Here’s what happened.
Mrs Oyster and I took little Oyster (18 months) out for dinner to La Porchetta at Tuggeranong, Canberra. As usual, the guys behind the counter said “g’day” even though they weren’t going to seat us. A waitress showed us to a table and promptly got us a high chair. She offered us drinks and we obliged.
A couple of minutes later a second waitress came past and offered us drinks. Not smooth but better to have two drink offers than none, right?
Soon little Oyster’s dinner arrived and I accidentally knocked my beer over while helping him eat. Once I returned the bottle to it’s rightful position I didn’t even have time to turn around and ask for a cloth before a waitress arrived and took care of the spillage.
They obliged nicely when I asked for some tap water in his bottle.
So far we were proving a little high maintenance but nothing a family heading out for dinner would expect. But what happened next was pure customer service gold.
Little oyster was being a shit and wouldn’t eat his dinner properly. This went on for a few minutes before a waitress arrived and offered some sauce, “kids love tomato sauce on anything” she said. It worked a treat as he got to dunk his food into the sauce before trying to get it in his mouth.
Then she noticed that Little Oyster was using a big person’s fork and returned with a kids size fork to make it easier (for all involved).
This type of customer service, above and beyond, is what made our dinner a much nicer experience.
La Porchetta is fairly similar to Zeffirelli but the great product is enhanced by La Porchetta’s customer service and damaged by Zeffirelli’s.
I suppose a lot of what happened at La Porchetta is as much to do with the general attitude of the staff (rather than some sort of systematic training). However, in a broader sense, the opportunity for any business is to understand what your customer’s “expect” and deliver above it. You don’t have to deliver much more, maybe only 1%, maybe a kids fork and some sauce, but boy does it create a great experience and positive word of mouth!
In comparison, I haven’t even had a response from Zeffirelli despite emailing them my post. Just a “sorry, we’ll try harder next time” would be nice. They are lucky that they make such great calzone because if La Porchetta made calzone then I wouldn't have to go near Zeffirelli’s again. Hint hint La Porchetta ;)