My husband and I were headed out for an “escape” and celebration on a Saturday evening. He had made reservations at a tiny Italian restaurant that he had read great things about…quaint, quiet, romantic and exciting. We love to try new places when we go out and always feel exhilarated as we head out for a new adventure.
We arrived at our destination and entered into an already busy restaurant – we had made reservations and were just asked to arrive before 6pm as it was going to be tough to fit us in after that…it was 5:35pm. We were ignored for a few minutes before a harsh voice asked “do you have reservations” and after finding that we did, he signaled us to a cozy table at the front by the fireplace. In my plain view, he checked the reservation book, threw his pen and started to rant about how busy it was and “who did all these people think they were”…then he went to the kitchen and brought out another person to help him. The phone rang and the person he brought out from the kitchen answered, while the other started huffing as this person was calling for a reservation. It was quite the “scene” really. I started my career in hospitality and this was the first grown up “hissy fit” that I had experienced. We were ignored for a few minutes and I could feel my body tense up as the energy in the room was not friendly – not exactly the relaxing and wonderful night out we were hoping for. At that moment, my husband said “let’s go – it’s obvious that we are not welcome here”. As we stood up the person responsible for us leaving basically thanked us for leaving, I guess we were making his job easier, for the moment!
It made me sad as we left – for an opportunity lost for both the restaurant and ourselves. In today’s competitive environment, with the many choices that people have, it is the customer experience that is the key to differentiating your business – and yourself! A simple smile and warm greeting from this person would have made all the difference.
Customer Experience Tip: Hire the best…you want “people on fire” with passion and desire to be working for your organization and living your brand. How many people will we share this experience with? What can you do to ensure that this isn’t your business?