“These eggs are overcooked,” the man next to me at the counter says to Donovan.
“I’ll have new ones done right away, sir. I’ll tell the chef to cook them ‘easy’ this time. They’ll be done the way you like,” Donovan tells him.
“And this English muffin isn’t toasted enough.”
As Donovan scoops up the underdone bread, he says with a genuine smile, “Of course, sir. We’ll get that right out to you.”
I notice stuff. Like how the man sitting next to me didn’t seem to happy, not only with his eggs and muffin but about the day and probably life in general. That’s the first impression he was giving off. I also noticed that he didn’t say “please” or “thank you” and he didn’t ask Donovan to do anything. He either stated what he wanted or demanded it.
Have you ever had food served that isn’t done the way you like? Of course, you have. You can choose to live with it or do something about it. When you decide to do something about it, do it nicely. Ask if it’s possible to have your food prepared again. If the kitchen is gracious enough to redo your food for you, be specific about what you would want re-done.
Make a Connection
As you may have guessed, Donovan was my server also. I struck up a conversation with him about the delicious biscuit that came with my meal. Donovan told me he’d traveled the U.S. and has had his share of good biscuits and said the owner at the diner knew the secret to making good biscuits was not to over stir the batter and to use cold butter. Amen to that!
It’s all about making the smallest of gestures to connect with people. I got the impression that Donovan would do anything for his customer no matter how they treated him. After I paid my bill, I gestured for Donovan to meet me at the side of the counter.
“One comment and one question for you if I may,” I said facing him. “First, I loved how you handled the man sitting next to me. You have a gift for customer service, and you could not have been more professional.” He smiled big and thanked me.
“And, one question. In one word, what would you say customer service means to you?”
“Honesty,” he said. “I love my job, and I can’t see being anything but honest with my customers.”
Whatever you do, in service to people with whom you work and people whom you serve, be honest. Is there any other way to be?