It was my 20th wedding anniversary last weekend so my husband and I celebrated with a meal in a ‘quality’ restaurant.  We have a lovely restaurant where we live in Faringdon but unfortunately it was busy so we decided to go into Oxford for a change and went to a popular restaurant (mains were about £23 to give you an idea of ‘quality’).

RestaurantIt was a lovely evening out, and I have no complaints – the food was very good.  It was interesting from a customer service viewpoint and I was treated to some business and social media lessons which I thought I would share with you.

1. When we arrived, we were greeted and told that somebody would take our coats – in fact I was shown the coat hanger to hang my own coat up on the way to my table! Others who arrived (clearly regular customers) had their coats hung up for them.

Business Lesson:
Make every customer feel they are equally welcomed to your business.  There are other ways you can make your regular customers feel special.

2. At the beginning of our meal, we felt very rushed.  We ordered pre-dinner drinks and sat down to look at the menu.  Very quickly the waitress arrived to take our order and we ordered a bottle of wine to go with the meal.  I was surprised to see the wine arrive even though we had just started our pre-dinner drinks – my husband had to taste the wine between gulps of beer! Yes, we could have asked for more time, but it wasn’t a big deal – just a little annoyance.

Business Lesson:
If possible, let your customers work with you at their pace not yours.

3. On a similar note, the restaurant wasn’t busy at the beginning of the evening but became busy by the end.  At the beginning, I couldn’t put an empty glass down without it being whipped away – in fact I nearly lost the last gulp of my G & T!  By the end of the evening it was all more relaxed – even though we actually wanted the bill so we could leave!

Social Media Lesson:
Listen (or watch) your customers so you can offer them what they need it, when they need it.

On a separate note, one of the principles I bang on about when talking about using social media is the need to understand your brand and how you look to others.  The restaurant we went to looked lovely with subtle fairy lights and candles.  The food was presented in art form.  However, the waitresses (probably poor students) were less professionally dressed – they were in black tops and skirts but one girl had a hole in her tights and in both cases their shoes / boots needed a clean and to be smarted up.  Not a comment on the waitresses – they probably couldn’t afford it – more of a comment on the restaurant – the quality part of their brand didn’t flow through the entire experience.

Business and Social Media Lesson:
Make sure every time your customers see or hear from you, your brand and values are represented.

It was a lovely evening out, but I didn’t feel that the restaurant wanted me to become a regular customer – which is how I feel every time I go to our local Faringdon restaurant.

I would love to know your thoughts – how do you make your customers feel wanted?