Is Great Customer Service Enough?

Over the weekend, my wife and I went out to a restaurant for dinner to celebrate her birthday. This particular restaurant is very well known in town and is fairly pricey and is a place we’ve been to before. On the previous visit, the service was excellent and my wife’s dinner was great but mine was just OK…I chalked it up to the cut of meat I ordered and enjoyed the evening with my wife.

When my wife mentioned going out to dinner to this restaurant for her birthday, I was a little hesitant as I remembered the meal from our last visit, but her meal had been excellent so we tried again. Again the service was exemplary…our waiter was perfect and was always there when we needed something and never there when we were trying to have a conversation. Leading up to the meal, the bread and salads were OK and the glass of wine I ordered (Hartford Zinfandel) was excellent so I was hopeful that the meal would be much better this time.

I was wrong. My wife ordered exactly the same thing she had last time and I ordered the Filet Mignon. In my book, it’s extremely hard to mess up a good filet but they found a way. The meat was tender but the ‘flavor’ was horrible….it tasted like it had been soaked in mesquite flavoring for a few days. I don’t mind mesquite but there should only be a hint of mesquite on a steak.

The kicker for me was my wife’s meal. Her meal was terrible too….she ordered King Crab legs (this place is known for crab) and somehow they messed this up to with some type of seasoning that overpowered the food and made it the worst crab she (and I) have ever had.

We mentioned this to the manager and his comment was “I’m sorry that you didn’t like your dinner…how about a gift certificate for 2 for your next meal”. The manager’s intention was good…but why would we come back? The food was horrible.

I can’t say enough good things about the service at this restaurant but the food was terrible and I would never recommend this place to anyone else. This just goes to show you that great service isn’t enough to be successful…you need a great product too.

NOTE: Hat tip to Kent Blumberg for his post titled “Shouldn’t miss customer service details” for reminding me that I wanted to post this story. His post is absolutely spot on… customer service is in the details. The ‘small’ details can go a long way to create a great customer service experience…these ‘small’ details are something that the restaurant definitely understands…its the ‘big’ details (like the food) that they got wrong.

[tags] Customer Service [/tags]

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Kent Blumberg
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Great post (and thanks for the link). I guess the point we make together is that you must pay attention to both the forest and the trees if you are going to really succeed in business. Great customer service will not make up for a lousy steak, and poor customer service can easily ruin a perfect steak. Only excellence at big and small things really works.

Eric Brown
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Absolutely true Kent.

Part of the problem in most organizations today is that they have lost their focus on either the product and/or service…focus on both is needed to succeed.

Troy Worman
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Great post, Eric. I am glad to have happened upon it (via Maria at Customers Are Always) and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

Eric Brown
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Troy – Thanks for the comment and the link back to Customers Are Always blog…haven’t seen that one yet. Looks like a good one.

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