I LOVE great customer service but so many times it goes tragically wrong.

In this article I want to focus on my positive experiences, what I call creating “raving fans”. My partner and I love going out for dinner and we have had some fantastic experiences, so that’s where I will begin.

I am a HUGE fan of supporting local businesses for a variety of reasons and are lucky to be surrounded by some really good restaurants, cafes and pubs that all have one thing in common – they all provide brilliant customer service.

Every one of these businesses is different, from good old cafés, the coffee shops, the chippy, Italian, Thai, or Indian restaurants, to upmarket creative cuisine restaurants right through to my local pub with the fantastic beer gardens. They all have a unique USP.

So what do I look for?

The first thing when booking online is I am looking for an easy, relaxing experience and confirmation that my reservation has been made in mins. I don’t want to have to write a book and then wait a week for confirmation.

If I call the restaurant I want my call answered within a few rings. By this I mean the phone being picked up and answered, politely and professionally with the name of the venue and the person I am talking to.

If I walk into a restaurant, cafe or pub I wanted to be acknowledged as soon as I set foot in the door. I understand these businesses are often busy but even a nod in my direction works for me and keeps me happy. If my table is not ready let me know – communication is the name of the game here. Keep me in the picture. I am happy you are busy!

Depending on where you are, will always depend on the next stage. Let’s focus on restaurants. Get me seated with a menu and what drinks I would like. I am your customer now so I don’t want you looking at table number two, or your mate at the other end of the restaurant as you write down my order. I want your focus to be 100% on me!  I once had a waiter answer their phone at this stage!

The food has come along and the drinks are flowing but remember I don’t want to be interrupted every two seconds saying, “is everything okay sir?” Spacing is so important and I know it can be hard to get right but being interrupted all the time can spoil a whole night – I know you mean well!

So having finished my meal, had a great starter and a main course, I am now enjoying my drink. Please don’t forget about me! I might like dessert! This is often when the service starts to slide down the hill! I am still in your restaurant and may want to keep spending!! By the way if you see an empty glass you should always ask if they would like another – you always want to increase your average spend.

When you see I have finished, all that needs to be said is would you like anything else? I also like to ask for the bill before it is presented on the table. This is my night off and I will finish when I am ready!

The restaurants where I have had the best experiences have great food but they also spend the time and effort to build great teams, providing a high standard of service. These teams are your ambassadors!

Remember your marketing is working! I have made a reservation I am in your restaurant. All you have to do is look after me with great food and exceptional customer service in a relaxed atmosphere. If it does go wrong – and these things do happen, the first thing I will remember is how your team managed the situation. If you can do that I will come back time and time again and shout about the experience on the top of a roof, telling the world.

That is the most cost effective marketing plan you will ever have! Pure Gold!    

Mike Jack is the Director of The One Consultancy