How to win loyal customers
“WELCOME to TriNoma!" Every time I park at this mall’s North Avenue parking building, I am greeted with a sweet smile from the lady issuing the parking ticket and the two security guards inspecting my car. They don’t know me personally, but they smile just the same, and I can’t help smiling back. In his column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer today, historian Ambeth Ocampo said greetings are also given at the Rockwell and Ayala Malls parking booths. See, niceties like these do not go unnoticed. A year ago, my family scheduled a late lunch at Greek restaurant Cyma at Shangri-La Plaza. The place was packed, and there was a long wait for a table, and for orders to arrive. But to this day, I still remember the heavyset male server who had his hair pulled back in a pony tail. He had a genuine smile on his face and apologized sincerely for the long wait as he brought in our orders. I think because of this, none of us got mad; we did enjoy the meal. This was in stark contrast to an experience I had at a deli in Ortigas Center also a year or so ago (yes, not only do I remember good service; I can’t forget bad service too). The girl at the counter got my order, and I paid the cashier. Thirty minutes later, my order still hadn’t arrived, and so I complained in a low tone to the girl at the counter. She just made a wan smile and worked on my order. When she brought my sandwich to my table, she didn’t say anything. I asked in a mild manner, “Would you like to say sorry?” Only then did she apologize. I was appalled at how I still had to draw this out from her, and so I asked for the manager and told her quietly what happened. The manager immediately apologized right then and there. Delays may be inevitable in a busy kitchen, but restaurants win plus points and loyal customers with good sincere service -- with apologies offered at the right moment. This holds true for all other service companies too. In fact, the way to a customer’s heart is through good service. And a satisfied customer will remember this for a long time.
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