The more I look around the more I wonder when companies are going to get the fact that people have choices. The days of people flocking to a company or service simply because of who they are is over. Now people have the opportunity to look around and determine what is best for them, and they are doing it more and more. The one thing that I think everyone will agree on is that the experience someone gets from a Brand, Product or Service is the driving factor behind their decision-making process. Yes I know that price, availability, commonality etc.. all play a part in it, but the bottom line is that people are going to buy, go, observe, discuss, recommend, the things that make them feel good.
Why do Brand’s constantly overlook this? I hear stories of horrible customer service experiences all the time. I listen and end up thinking to myself how hard would it have been to make that experience a good one? Not really if you think about it, as most people are not asking for much…they simply would like to get what they paid for and treated with courtesy and respect during the transaction. However most companies look at these situations as simple transactions vs. the deep interactions that they really are.
I would like to share with you one interaction that shows what happens when Brands, companies, or individuals do take the time to invest in the experience.
On Tuesday night we went out to celebrate Nick’s birthday. He got to pick where he wanted to go, and he chose The Outback Steakhouse here in Murfreesboro. He had been talking about going here for dinner since the last time we were there a couple of months back and was excited to be able to celebrate his birthday eating steak ! We arrived and were greeted and served by 2 very pleasant and enthusiastic young ladies. My dad pulled one of them to the side and told her that it was Nick’s birthday and could they do him a favor when it came time to bring out the ice cream. He asked them if they would mind getting a couple of stalks of broccoli and putting it in the ice cream (Nick can’t stand broccoli). I also had the server mention to the GM who happened to be there, simply hoping that the GM would come over and say hello and acknowledge Nick.
Here is where the experience goes over the top and when I realized the staff at this Outback “get’s it”. The GM, RJ is his name, pulled one of his staff members to the side and without us knowing sent him out of the restaurant to buy Nick a birthday present. RJ came over to the table and gave Nick a transformer robot and thanked him for picking the Outback as his restaurant of choice for his birthday. Talk about class, and talk about raising the bar where service and hospitality is concerned. Not many places will do something like that…in fact I would be curious if anyone else has a story like that. When it came time for the Ice Cream to come out sure enough the waitress did in fact take huge stalks of broccoli and stand them up in the Ice Cream….everyone came over to see Nick’s face when they put that bowl in front of him….it was priceless….
Those 2 little things….things that didn’t take much time, effort or money have changed my opinion of The Outback Steakhouse forever. Do you think we are going back there…heck yes we are! Do you think we are going to tell our friends about this? Heck Yeah we are ! Do you think I am going to take the time to tweet this, post it to Facebook and reach out to the Sr. Execs at the corporate offices and let them know about the great experience…absolutley….already done !
The take away i guess is this. Take the time to make the experience worthwhile. It takes no more time or effort…but the results are exponentially better for you and your business and there is no better form of marketing in a time where people are looking to other people for advice on where to go and have the best experiences…
Kudos and a Big Thank You to RJ and his staff at The Outback Steakhouse on Old Fort Parkway in Murfreesboro, TN. If you are in town and looking for a place to go, I would recommend you go there for sure….
Let me know what you think…and please let me know what your experience was like when you go and visit those guys….
- 7 truths common to all customer experiences (businessinsider.com)
- The Impact of Customer Service on Customer Loyalty and Word of Mouth (customerthink.com)
- Seven Tips for Building Customer Loyalty (entrepreneur.com)