My wife and I recently had dinner at a quite expensive restaurant located at a high end golf club near our home in Saratoga Springs, NY. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect. We finally had a nice day in the Northeast after a spring full of cool weather and rain. We decided to dine outdoors at this restaurants massive stone patio area, complete with waterfalls, outdoor gas fireplaces, etc. The outdoor area, despite being impeccable in past years, underwent a massive renovation this past spring that must have cost several hundred thousand dollars. The setting was the perfect backdrop for a quick night out for the two of us and we were eager for a good meal and to simply relax.
Despite the idyllic setting, this particular restaurant has had a reputation of delivering excellent food, but with very poor service. We were hopeful, that with the renovations that were done, they also overhauled their service delivery. Much to our dismay, the service did not improve and if anything worsened. We felt like we were troubling the wait staff to bring us menus, bring us a drink, our food, etc. Since this isn’t a restaurant review, I won’t go into the details, but lets suffice it to say that their service by any standard was poor. For my wife and me, it changed the entire experience from taking in our surroundings and enjoying the evening to observing the other patrons frustrations with their own poor service. We grew quite frustrated and as a result it fundamentally altered our attitude towards returning. Despite the beautiful backdrop, we will no longer be able to justify the high prices given the incredibly poor service. For a business dependent upon returning customers, they don’t seem to get the importance of customer service. I for one would have rather had them spend the hundreds of thousands they spent on stone, waterfalls, fire-pits and greenery on program to train their staff on the meaning of customer service. At the end of the day, it is the service, no matter the business, that defines the experience of the customer. For my wife and me, the poor service overshadowed all of the other incredible things about this location, as it would have for most any other couple.
As you contemplate your customer experiences, remember it isn’t the newest technologies, coolest products or memorable settings that customers remember; it’s the service they receive that defines their experience.
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