Having been in customer success roles for the majority of my career, I have found it challenging to coach team members on providing proactive shareworthy service. It has become so second nature, it was like trying to explain how to breathe. Sure it’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback and educate someone on what they could have done better. But to verbalize a list of ways to proactively surprise and delight a customer alluded me. That is until I met a server named Deliah in the Detroit airport who brought me two sauces for my French fries.
I probably need to start a little farther back for context. I was on a two-hour layover in Detroit, desperate to find a restaurant with an open table, not because I was hungry because I wasn’t. I have spent a shameless amount of money in airport restaurants and bars over the last year for the sole purpose of a short reprieve from wearing a mask. I spotted one empty table in a small, crowded restaurant. I squeezed myself into a chair, pulled out my laptop, and set up shop for the next couple of hours.
Within a minute, a woman emanating joy approached my table. She introduced herself, assured me she would take good care of me, and took my beverage order.
Shareworthy Service Tip #1 – Love what you do and make your customers feel confident in your abilities.
Before putting my drink order in, she warned me that they were short-staffed and the bartender was “in the weeds.” She said she would keep her eye on the bar and would bring my drink as soon as it was ready, informing me it had been about a 10-minute wait for drinks today.
Shareworthy Service Tip #2 – Set realistic expectations and communicate attainable timelines.
I told her I wasn’t prepared to order food yet (remember I wasn’t hungry and simply killing time sans mask). Thirty minutes later, I felt guilty about taking up a table for such a small tab, so the next time Deliah checked on me, I asked her if the soup was good. Her response was, “you can do better on our menu.” As a result, I ordered a basket of French fries.
Shareworthy Service Tip #3 – When a situation is less than ideal, transparency with your customers is always the best approach.
This restaurant had about ten different dipping sauces to choose from, so I selected one and apologized for taking up a table for so long for such a small tab. Deliah’s response was, “you take your time, honey, I’m here all night, and my job is to make sure you are comfortable and enjoying yourself.”
Shareworthy Service Tip #4 – No matter how large or small a customer is, you will earn their loyalty if you make them feel like they are your priority.
A short time later, Deliah appeared with my French fries, two different sauces, a small bowl, and a spoon. As she set my food down, she explained that she brought both sauces for me to mix together because the mixture was her personal favorite. She elaborated that it reminded her of something her Jamaican grandma used to make. And DAMN, those were the best fries I’ve ever had because of that off-menu sauce mixture.
Shareworthy Service Tip #5 – Give your customers the same experience you would like to have.
When she cleared my dishes, she was genuinely delighted that I loved the sauce mixture. We briefly exchanged short stories about the food we remembered our grandmas making when we were younger.
Shareworthy Service Tip #6 – Providing your customer with insight into you as a person is a fast-track way to develop relationships.
So THAT is how a waitress named Deliah provided me with my long allusive list of proactive tips for providing shareworthy service. And in case you are wondering? HER tip was three times the amount of the bill.