As I’ve been writing recently, Jayne and I took a road trip last month, where we visited three rural cities in New South Wales over a period of nine days and eight nights.
On the last night of our adventure, we decided to dine at a gastro-pub that a few locals had recommended. It was a pub that Jayne and I had walked past one night on the way to dinner somewhere else, and so we both knew this gastro-pub, and knew that it was a very popular establishment.
In preparation, we did decide to pre-book a table for that night, which ended up being a wise decision, because when we arrived that night for dinner, the pub was really buzzing, with all tables full.
In fact, the greeter who met us on arrival was just about to warn us of a significant delay or wait time, until we announced our reservation.
The table we were shown to was well located in a glassed in breezeway that allowed us good vision of people coming and going through the front door of the pub.
We perused the menu options, and then went to the kitchen to place our order, not long after our arrival at 7:30pm. Fortunately we weren’t in any sort of hurry…. we had finished our touring and sightseeing of this town over the previous two days; all we had to do the next day was go out for our morning constitutional walk, and then depart on a leisurely drive back to Sydney, for which we had plenty of time.
As I mentioned, the pub was extremely busy that night for dinner.
And the meal we ordered took an eon to arrive.
In fact, the people at the table beside us had reserved their table for 7:00pm, and waited nearly 30 minutes longer than us for their meals to arrive.
It was obvious to me and Jayne that the small kitchen in this hotel did not have the capacity to cook and serve meals in a quick and expedient manner.
Which probably doesn’t matter too much in a pub, where “responsible” diners would be happy to continue quenching their thirst with an adequate supply of adult beverages while waiting for their meals.
When our meals did finally arrive, they were very tasty, and we enjoyed them.
Once Jayne and I had completed our meals, we thought that dessert would be a nice way to finish off the evening, and although I am not a “dessert person”, I knew that the twelve minute walk back to our accommodation would help me burn off a few of the dessert calories.
But there was a problem…
When I went to the kitchen to place my order for desserts, I was told that the kitchen had now closed, and so desserts were unavailable.
Which was quite disappointing.
Sadly, I’m not the sort of diner who “saves room for dessert” when I order my meal.
I’m one of those diners who decides whether I will have a dessert or not after the main meal. And often if there’s nothing on the dessert menu that takes my fancy, I’ll have nothing.
Also, one of Jayne’s unwritten rules of dining is that if the service and the main meal do not live up to our expectations, then “rewarding” the restaurant with a dessert purchase is definitely not part of our agenda.
So, when the kitchen informed me that I was too late to place a dessert order, I was naturally disappointed.
And I let them know that had they not taken so long to deliver our main meals, we would have certainly had plenty of time to order a dessert at the completion of those meals.
Anyway, Jayne and I decided that despite the fact that dessert was not an option, an after dinner drink [A.D.D.] was in order. After all, this was the final night of our road trip. So I headed up to the bar to order.
While I was away from the table, one of the servers, Patrick, started up a conversation with Jayne, and he asked her how her meal had been.
And Jayne shared our experience of the evening with Patrick, and our disappointment that the kitchen had closed before we had had an opportunity to finish our delayed main meals.
And so Patrick did this…
Patrick told Jayne that he would go back to the kitchen and see what he could do….
And when he returned, Patrick returned with the offer of a sticky-date pudding for Jayne and me to share, with his complements.
What brilliant service recovery!!
After we had enjoyed the pudding, Patrick returned again and we discussed our experiences of the evening, along with the issue that at times, the small kitchen did not have the capacity to prepare and cook the amount of food ordered by diners in an appropriately acceptable timeframe.
And in his mind, Patrick felt that the wide variety of choices on the menu contributed to the inefficiencies of the small kitchen, because there were only so many meals that could be prepared at one time…
This was a problem for another day for the hotel, but it was good to see that the establishment was “owning” its problems.
Because sometimes some businesses choose to ignore their problems, which can infuriate customers, both new and old.
This gastro-pub was indeed keen to solve its service difficulties.
And the best thing we saw was that when a service defect [like the one that we experienced ] occurred, they seamlessly swung into service recovery mode IMMEDIATELY to make things better, no matter what.
And that’s the sign of a world class business.
How are your Service Recovery processes?
In your business, how are your Service Recovery processes?
Do you have employees like Patrick, that have the power to automatically initiate service recovery processes when a service defect occurs, without having to “check with the boss” and gain approval to do so?
Because being able to do so, is one of the key identifiers of a World Class Organisation.
Dr. David Moffet BDS FPFA CSP is a certified CX Experience coach. David works with his wife Jayne Bandy to help SME businesses improve their Customer Service Systems to create memorable World Class experiences for their valued clients and customers. Click here to find out how David and Jayne can help your business