This morning I arrived early for a meeting at a local Bob Evans. I told the greeter (who also turned out to be the server) that I was expecting to meet one other person. They noticed my laptop bag and asked if we’d need a place to plug-in.
WOW… Nice job paying attention and trying to be helpful!
I told them that we wouldn’t need an outlet and he immediately seated me at a great table where I could keep an eye on the entrance (so I could spot my guest) and was near an outlet “just in case”.
I told him that we’d probably both want coffee and in less than 30-seconds the server brought over a full coffee cup for me, an empty cup for my yet-to-arrive guest, and a carafe that he referred to as the “Back-Up Coffee“.
So much of great customer service relies upon your ability to anticipate the needs of your customer.
Take this morning’s experience in comparison to my experience at a local restaurant I visited for dinner last night:
- The table was still a little messy, but I had to ask for a napkin to brush away salt and straw-wrappers — which they left on the corner of my table.
- We ordered an appetizer to share, but had to ask for individual plates, flatware, and napkins.
- I ordered fries, but had to ask for for ketchup.
- We finished our meal, but had to ask them to clear plates.
None of these things could possibly have been the first time they happened to this server or in this restaurant. Why did it seem they were taken so completely by surprise and unprepared?
Chances are the customers you encounter this week will have the same (or similar) needs to those you encountered last week. Why not make a list of the 5-10 most common requests and make a point to offer these services, answers, products, etc. to your customers before they need to ask you for them?
Take a default customer expectation and turn it into an opportunity to build customer loyalty.