Sustainable Recipe Coordinator @ www.HelpMeCook.com.au - loving my newfound freedom after finishing my 2nd round of tertiary education whilst working full time :)
Published January 24th 2013
We've all gone to places that have surprised us with either how wonderful or terrible the service was. Often the customer service experience can be quite bland, with places that have delicious food but where you would avoid going for a good service experience. However, this article is about trying to pinpoint where to go for the absolute best customer service and where to avoid going. I don't want to put people or places down because of a forgotten fork. If there was a place where the fork was forgotten but the staff members were sincerely apologetic and brought it to you as they were supposed to, but with a smile and free dessert or a discount, tell us. If there was a place where the fork was forgotten and you were made to feel as if it were your fault, tell us where this place is so that we can avoid it, too.
I'll start off by discussing some of my experiences. Note that these don't just have to be restricted to food, because we're often doing other things on the weekend. Last week when I visited Lane Cove National Park, the parking meters weren't working. We went down to the boat shed and worriedly asked the lovely man about what to do. He advised us of the correct course of action without any personal or financial gain and had a big smile on his face. Naturally, we plan to go back there this weekend and hire a rowboat.
A terrible experience I recently had was making the mistake of spilling something on the ground of a toy store and notifying a staff member so that nobody would slip on it. He proceeded to force my boyfriend and I to clean it up after bringing a mop and bucket. What a lovely customer service experience that was indeed. I immediately questioned this action and asked for a manager who was apologetic, but the damage was already done. In case anyone is wondering, this was a major toy store at the Moore Park SupaCenta.
On a more positive note, I had a lovely customer service experience at Montparnasse Café Restaurant, with the lovely waiter being completely attentive, the food coming quickly and feeling like a genuinely valued customer as a result of it all. I still feel warm and fuzzy from it now. There are plenty of other places that I feel warm and fuzzy from, such as the lovely hotel I stayed at for my Blue Mountains holiday. Not only was breakfast free, but the reception staff were always lovely and helpful.
That's enough from me. What were some of your most memorable customer service experiences? Perhaps you were working within customer service and your most memorable experience was from a really lovely customer who complimented you, or someone who ruined your day? I'm looking forward to your responses.
Hi Maz, I had professional customer service training when I was employed by The City of Burnside, a local Government area in the foothills of Adelaide. It was in the early 80's when "customer service" became the buzz word. From memory we were the first Government agency to win customer service awards back then.
The problem with proper customer service training is it makes you more aware of the vast amount of “No Customer Service”. I found that when you interact with people in almost any situation as a customer, there is disappointing customer service. My wife and I would just look at each other and shrug our shoulders. I took customer service seriously and I still do. I look after every person, beyond the way I would expect to be treated in the same situation. If the customer is happy then I too can be happy. My goal is to have them come back next time and personally request me to look after them.
I have one outstanding memorable customer service story. We were on an American Airline flight from Melbourne to Auckland NZ. My wife is vegetarian so she received her meal first. In economy class most airlines serve any special dietary requirement meals before the general meals are served; she also received her glass of wine with her meal. Later I received my general meal along with everyone else; I ate my meal while I was waiting for my drink to be served. The whole cabin received their drink immediately after their meal was served but for some reason I was missed. I caught the attention of the Drinks Flight Steward and politely asked for a drink as I had been missed out. He was horrified when he realised that he missed out serving my drink, he thought that I too had a special dietary meal and therefore had already been served my drink earlier. He was so apologetic and you could tell in his mannerism that he was very sincere. He rushed off and came promptly back with my glass of red and then he offered my wife and I free drinks of choice for the rest or the flight. We were very happy with his customer service. As we disembarked he approached us and again apologised for his mistake and hoped that we would fly with them again, We were very impressed with his Excellent customer Service, but then he turned around and presented us with a bottle of French Champagne to enjoy later….Outstanding, We were Flabbergasted.
When we arrived home we went to buy some more of the same champagne as we had enjoyed it. Unfortunately the bottle was so expensive we couldn’t afford it. We were Flabbergasted again, the Drinks Steward had not given us the normal champagne served on the flight in the economy class, but he had given us a very expensive bottle from First Class.
We wrote a letter of Commendation for the Flight Steward to American Airlines as his customer service was beyond excellent. We hoped the company recognised and rewarded him. The Flight Steward was the right person in the right job. He actually knew what "Real" Customer Service is about and enjoyed giving it.
I went to a restaurant with some friends on the corner of Riley and Crown and the American waiter there, when asked what was in several dishes, looked very much like he was guessing, and then decided to get help and asked the chef. One of his responses was: "Oh, you know, rocket and a bunch of stuff...." We all sat there dumbfounded, wondering what a "bunch of stuff" could possibly taste like, and at his sheer gall in delivering such a glib response. This was made worse by the fact that amongst our group, all journalists, was a national newspaper restaurant critic. Needless to say, we hastily departed to take our business elsewhere. Jenny.
1990's at the very swish & swank WALNUT TREE RESTAURANT - Christmas Dinner for company staff for which we all had to individually book and pay. There were not enough seats at my department's table as a guy turned up with a 'new' girlfriend who had not booked - she took my seat.
I was put on a table in a corner at the back of the restaurant, with people I did not know & who did not speak to me. The waiter tipped an entire bucket of ice and icy water down my back = I was saturated and freezing! My gorgeous NEW black, sleeveless, double Georgette dress was ruined, my hair was wet, the napery was wet, the balloon-backed chair was wet. The rotten old waiter made no effort to find a dry chair for me, did not offer to help me dry off or to pay for restoration of my fabulous, expensive, NEW evening cocktail dress. No management appeared to assist or apologise. It was a horrible, rotten, lousy night. That is the most memorable night ..........UNLESS you mean recently MEMORABLE ........
It was my birthday 4 weeks ago, I went to dinner with a new social group. The person to my left sat the entire evening with her fat shoulder & back to me (I never saw her face) and the chap on my right spent the entire evening facing the opposite direction leaning in to hear & participate in conversation.
A banquet menu, the group on my Right emptied the platter before it came to me, while the platters to my left were placed at the other end so by the time it came to the rude person on my left there was nothing left. The restaurant does not have Cider and wines were expensive. I spoke no more than 3 sentences all night - couldn't hear conversations across the table as they were talking to the group down left) & couldn't hear or participate with the group up on the right. I had hoped for a lovely fun involving birthday dinner with this new social group. It didn't happen. It was a horrible, hungry, unsatisfying night. Next birthday I'll stay home with the TV - it does not eat my allocation of banquet food for which I paid, I can drink Cider, and won't be ignored by rude people who turn their backs and refuse to mix with new members. Even 'hello' would have been appreciated. I walked to the station alone and went home. Doubt I'll forget the rudeness and miserable birthday of that night.
How about going to Myer Lingerie department to be personally fitted for a new bra? They didn't have anything suitable for my 38C size - that is not my fault. Overhearing a female staffer say "That girl should go to an Iron Foundry" was not what I ever expected to hear, and it took several days to work out what she meant. I have not shopped in Myer for Lingerie since then. Gee, I wonder why? Hmmm! Australia has no idea of what Customer Service means - that is why it is so unusual to tip anyone. Rotten service and rudeness is so easy to find here.
I had a guy out from Freedom Kitchens to quote for a new kitchen. After discussing our requirements for 20 minutes or so, he said to me "I tell you what will look ridiculous and that's having 21 units in one kitchen." (Admittedly it was a large kitchen but I don't think you can ever have too many cupboards and they are all now filled up). Anyway, he would not listen to our requirements and I ended up having to ask him to leave as he was totally unable to work with me. I did complain to the company and apparently there had been other complaints about this man and I think he ended up getting sacked.
About 10 years ago I got home from getting take away at McDonalds. I was so upset when they got the order all wrong. I had had a bad day and was not going to drive back. I phoned them and someone from McDonalds actually drove 10 minutes to my house with the correct order. Wow! That is customer service... Elke Raselli
After reading your article I just had to write to say that the most outstanding customer service I have received in a long time is not from a restaurant or shop, but from - my dentist!!! If you are afraid to go (like I used to be) do yourself a favour and check out the site of Medland Dental Centre at Annerley in Brisbane. The staff without exception, deliver such a high level of service, it has to be experienced to be believed. They also have great coffee!