Where’s the Service? What’s the Experience?

Remember the “Where’s the Beef??” campaign? Today I’d say, “Where’s the Service??”

Service is a funny thing. So many people Want It. Too few people know What It Is. Lots of people practice What It Isn’t.

Service = what you give.

The key here is that we often mistake service for experience.

Experience = what we get.

Are you ready with the Servant Mentality?

Are you ready with the Servant Mentality?

They are vastly different and still very much related. Round and round they go. For example: if someone is shopping at a store, say for a pair of trousers, a sales person approaches (hopefully) to inquire as to how they can help. True service and servant mentality isn’t “are you finding what you want?” Servant mentality is service focused – how can one serve another. What can I help you find, what it is you are looking for today, and ‘these whatevers would be very sharp with the pair of slacks you picked out.’ It’s help at its core: service.

Experience is the result of being served. A woman walks into a bar….

She is seated or seats herself (being greeted and seated is the best service) and awaits a beertender to assist. An in-tune and well-educated tender will introduce themselves (starting a relationship), inquire as to what they may be in the mood for (making suggestions so the guest doesn’t have to do all the work herself), and also makes recommendations to complement her choices (beverage, food, both). Providing an experience is what creates a meaningful memories. Memories drive people to want to repeat their experiences, the business sees the customer again – perhaps with friends they brought along – and round it all goes.

Service Tips Today:

1. When serving the female customer, ask open-ended questions. Service inherently starts with genuine conversation (not hollow, the real stuff).

2. If she gives you a closed return comment, then give her space, let her know you’re available, check back and ensure she’s finding what she wants and needs.

3. Offer appropriate recommendations and suggestions per the conversations you are able to have with her. If she’s rather tight-lipped, simply pointing our features and specials can engage her in a professional and polite way – you’re sharing what’s new, improved, in season and available.

4. Give her space.

5. Thank her for her business and visit – whether she buys now or not. Her experience of your service will greatly affect her support of your business.

Smart service leads to a positive experience. Get it right and thrive. Get it right and she’ll help you.

Resource: Paul Paz, Waiters World is an excellent Servant Leader.

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Customer Service, Customer Experience

I’m constantly reminded that Customer Service and the Customer Experience are entirely different things, misunderstood, and one seems to be the ‘pour over everything’ sauce for most businesses.

  • Customer Service: What someone gives you, the service delivered by one person to another
  • Customer Experience: What the customer gets, the service experience delivered to the customer by another person

Make every assumption that they are different and of equal import.

  • Customer Service = greeting every customer every time, with a genuine smile and verbal greet. Taking care of the needs of the customer. Serving.
  • Customer Experience = the take away feeling and value of the experience and encounter. Takes into account value of the time invested, educational component, and social interaction.
Cheers to solid and focused service

Cheers to solid and focused service

If you get greeted and walked to the item you’ve stated you’re looking for by a sincere and helpful person, the service was top of mind and part of the culture, the experience was one of time well spent (value) finding what you need or want, and positive impression which amps up the likelihood of a repeat purchase.

If your head wasn’t up to greet every person who walked by you, if you think the task is more important than the person, the service was devoid and not top of mind. If you decided that it was more important to finish the conversation with your colleague than it was to greet and assist a customer, then the experience is negative. The person is always more important than the task.

Know the difference. Know they must work in harmony.

You can have the most beautiful store or pub in the world. And unless the service is indelibly and obviously part of the culture of the people who make the business run, then it’s a fool’s errand.

Conversely an ill-kept ‘hole in the wall’ place can have raving fans because they get treated well and the attention to them is top shelf.

Service can save a less than desirable atmosphere, crappy service can never be saved by excellent atmosphere. You must have both to be successful for the business and the customers. And remember: there are always internal and external customers. You should work on securing a business that serves, delivers and has integrity all the way around.

2 Resources:

  1. Waiters World (widely applicable principles)
  2. Sullivision (yes…yes this is a good site – are you nodding too?)

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How many of the people you work with  are fully engaged in your business?

Perhaps we should back up – are you fully engaged? Most – being the vast majority – of the beer people I have met who work in the industry in some manner, are truly plugged into what they do and why they do it.

apple_harvestSo back to present day, who is not engaged? If they are not, why not?

Unengaged employees do not engage customers.

If they are salvageable, then get to it. If they are not, cut them free. A bad fit is a bad for everyone. (this person should clearly NOT be in a customer contact position – yikes!!!)

If one bad apple spoils the bushel, then make sure they’re all prize fruit. Customers can tell when something’s rotten.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by mcmrbt

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