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Putting The Serve Back Into Customer Service

Good service is easy to spot and hard-to-find. Mediocre service occasionally stands out but only because it's the cream-of-the-crap.

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the Lumbermen's Merchandising Corp. annual sales meeting in Dallas. The meetings were held at the Dallas Convention Center and the hotel we stayed at was the Hyatt Regency at Reunion.

The first night I had dinner at the Centennial Café Restaurant on the second floor of the hotel. The food was good and the service, I mean the server, was outstanding.

It was a slow night and Abdul was covering one half of the tables in the restaurant. Here are some of my observations:

1. Abdul was always smiling.

2. He was energetic.

3. He walked fast and with purpose.

4. As soon as I was seated at the table he asked me for my drink order.

5. Two minutes later - it was there.

6. He wrote down my order which included some special diet requests.

7. It took four minutes for the bread to be served. The meal was delivered exactly how I ordered it.

8. When it was time, the plates were removed quickly and quietly.

9. He was there when you needed him and not when you didn't.

I went back to the same restaurant the next night. This time however, the place was really hopping. I asked for a table with a light, so I could finish a good novel I was reading.

The hostess put me at a table with lots of light and it was right next to the reception podium, where she greeted all customers. She didn't move or walk fast.

She pointed to my new server who immediately disappeared into the kitchen. I never did see him for the rest of the evening - let me explain.

Abdul approached the hostess and spotted me. He said, "Welcome back." I asked if he could be my server and he said it would not be possible since he was limited to his station on the other side of the restaurant.

He asked about my server and I told him he hadn't been to my table yet. Without any hesitation he asked if I would like the same glass of wine I enjoyed the night before. I was impressed and I said yes.

The hostess had her arms wrapped around the podium - what a sight. I managed to get her attention and asked to be moved to Abdul's section. She gave me her best impression of a positive nod.

Abdul grabbed the menu and escorted me across the restaurant to another table with enough light for me to finish my book. While the entrée was different, the service again, was excellent.

Service can be awesome or dreadful - and it's usually people who make the difference.

The elements of good service are not instinctive and are usually the result of extensive training. Unfortunately, servers don't get to judge the service - that's strictly up to the customers.

The reward for good service is more business. The reward for superior service is even more business. It should also be noted that "Profitability is the applause of a happy customer." I gave gave Abdul a big tip.

In conclusion and generally speaking . . .

People who walk fast make more money than people who don't.

People who are enthusiastic, energetic, and show a little passion for their work also make more money than people who don't.

People who go out of their way to help and serve their customers are always more appreciated and valued.

One of the keys to successful selling is to help your customers get what they want.

Obviously, Abdul has that figured out.

Jim Meisenheimer's business is your business. His sales techniques and selling skills focus on practical ideas that get immediate results. You can discover all his secrets by contacting him at (800) 266-1268, e-mail:

jim@meisenheimer.com or by visiting his website: http://www.meisenheimer.com

You can also check out his NEW online Sales Effectiveness 360 Assessment at this website: http://www.no-brainersalesprofiles.com

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