I was a Customer… and Remarkable Service Broke Out!

So recently I’m having lunch at a local chain restaurant, one of the fast-casuals as they call them (order at the counter, they bring the food to your table, they bus the tables).

And Remarkable Service Broke Out!

And by remarkable, I mean I literally “remarked” about it while still there.

A young lady from the counter comes over and asks if I’d like a refill of my tea.  It was in a clear plastic cup and we could both see it was about half gone but not empty.   I looked at my cup and said, “Sure” figuring I don’t really yet but maybe I won’t have to worry about waiting on a refill later when it is empty.

The girl gets a big, big sincere smile.  She pumps her arm by her side with her hand in a fist (like Tiger Woods making a long, long put) and enthusiastcally says, “YES!”

She takes the cup and off she goes.  When she returns, I smile and said, “I have to admit, I’ve never seen anyone that excited about getting a refill before.”

She smiled and said that they were having a contest and the manager would buy lunch for the one that had the most refills. The manager heard our discussion and came over smiling .  I asked if they did this often and was it something she did or was it a corporate idea.

teaThe manager, who was probably only 19 or 20 years old, said that she often did these types of games to keep things fun.  She had worked at another location where that manager did these things and they always had fun.

We chatted more and she talked about how she loved working for this company and how she loved coming to work each day.  She talked about work more excitedly than her college life.  (Do you and your colleagues love going to work each day?)

When I asked, she admitted she did have employees she had to “let go” because they did not have good attitudes and work ethics.  They were not as productive and they were not really good to have around customers.  It was clear that despite being young, she understood her role as a leader was not just “bossing” but team building and responsibility for the customer experience.

So, did I feel like the service was not sincere because it was part of a game?  No way.  The service was sincere, polite, smiling and very responsive. 

Isn’t that what we all want… and strive to provide our clients?

The game was just a way to keep service in the minds of the staff, a way to keep routine efforts fun and the work environment rewarding and upbeat.  Sounds like a great plan to me!

What I really appreciated was seeing a work environment where leadership realized that fun and service can boost each other.  And I think customers appreciate and return to an environment where they get great service from people that seem toenjoy their job (particularly when so many places the service staff sound and act like forced labor).

Are you having fun at work, even with the little routine tasks?  Are you doing it while providing great service?

If not, you may think you are a skilled, service-dependent professional but you may not be qualified to work at a local chain restaurant near me.


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.