Monday, 28 April 2008

A Good Giraffe

The marketing expert and author Seth Godin posted a story on his blog yesterday about customer service. About some bad experiences; about the difference between people genuinely caring and pretending to care about a customer predicament. We would rather people in the service industries cared about us, but at least if they pretend they do, that’s better than not making an effort at all.

I always think a waiter is a good example of experiencing customer service at its most basic. The waiter/waitress is about how good an experience you get from one person – often under pressure – acting as a brand ambassador for the restaurant where they work. And they are often overworked and underpaid and underappreciated.

Yesterday lunchtime at Giraffe in London’s Spitalfields, was a perfect example of a bloody good waiter. A guy (American as it happened) who built a relationship as soon as we sat down. He was funny, he was helpful, he made all of us welcome (especially my two sons) and he was memorable. I can see him now, entertaining my kids.

It’s not easy to ‘pretend to care’ under pressure of a busy restaurant on a Sunday lunchtime, this waiter gave me the impression he really cared about us (and if he was pretending, he was probably very good actor. And come to think of it, a waiter in London probably IS an actor between jobs…)

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