Hint at exceptional service

I had dinner the other night with a business associate/friend.  We were seated and the hostess turned to my friend and asked, "would you prefer a black napkin?’

Being a dumb boy, I was surprised and a little confused when my friend said that yes, she would prefer a black napkin.  The hostess must have noticed my puzzled expression.  She nodded at my friend and said, "she’s wearing a dark dress.  A white linen napkin might leave a bit of lint on her dress."

Picture_11 Wow.  We were in for an exceptional dinner.

Any restaurant that would pay attention and make accommodations for that level of detail was going to go out of their way to deliver a remarkable experience.

And they did.  If there’s a Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in your area — get there.  And ask for a black napkin.

More important — what’s your black napkin?

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16 comments on “Hint at exceptional service

  1. Irene says:

    Great point. Noticing event the smallest detail for the purpose of doing everything for the satisfaction of the customer, indeed, shows great service. Meeting the needs of our customers is not enough. We have to please them in every way we can.

  2. Art Dinkin says:

    Great place. I was shocked the first time they wanted my phone number, until I learned that they were building a profile on me. They do not initiate contact, but they do remember my seating preference what I like to order and such. It is a bit pricey, but a wonderful place for special occasions.

  3. Lewis Green says:

    Man, this is great stuff. I was a travel writer for six years and critiqued 100s (actually several thousand) of restaurants, hotels, resorts, etc. Never once did anyone ask me or my companions what color napkin would prefer. This is a business that understands exceeding customer expectations creates word of mouth marketing and business growth.

  4. Drew,

    That’s it! Those are the kind of places that get people (bloggers) talking about them for the right reasons! I haven’t been there in a while but now I want to go back. We all desire to be treated very well. Great example…it’s the little things!

    Cory

  5. Matt says:

    This is what I was talking about in my post on building buzz. When you intentionally bake something right into your business that is intentionally designed to get people talking about you- you instantly move yourself to the head of the pack. Impressive.

    Matt

  6. This is a great example of how word-of-mouth advertising can work really well. In a time when we’re so conditioned to expect poor service, it’s almost shocking to get great service. It gets people talking and drives positive word-of-mouth advertising. I love it!

  7. John says:

    That’s the kind of service everyone would like to have. Customers don’t have to ask for everything they want. Businesses that render services should know how to identify their customer’s needs and serve them even before they ask.

  8. jimdwalton says:

    What a difference the little things make. I learned that years ago selling medical equipment. the more value you learn about as a service provider, that more value you bring. I wonder if the black napkin thing is a benifit from diversity. I doubt if one of us men would have come up with that one.

  9. Irene,

    I think your point is well taken. Often times it is the smallest detail that creates the biggest reaction.

    Drew

  10. Art,

    Without a doubt — it is not a once a week hangout. Unless you have much deeper pockets than I do!

    But it’s the perfect place if you want to create a lasting memory. We’re taking my dad there for Father’s Day tomorrow and I know it will feel like we did something special.

    Drew

  11. Lewis.

    I agree with you. I was completely taken aback at first. And then, the simplicity of it just really struck me. Someone had their thinking caps on.

    It also seems interesting to me that no one else has picked up on it. Or maybe I just don’t eat at fancy enough places.

    Drew

  12. Cory,

    It’s a good reminder that we have excellent branding tutorials right in our back yard!

    Sort of like Mark’s article about Cold Stone Creamry. Good stuff all around us!

    Drew

  13. Matt,

    You are exactly right. For those of you who haven’t discovered Matt’s excellent blog…here’s the post he is referring to.

    http://capforge.com/building-buzz-create-word-of-mouth-starting-a-business/41/

    Drew

  14. Susan,

    You are so right. We expect bad or mediocre service. No only do we expect it, we accept it.

    That’s the window of opportunity for all of us. Exceptional service is so unexpected that when it happens — we can’t help but notice AND talk about it!

    Drew

  15. John,

    Yes…there is an added value to the customer not having to ask for what they want. It makes them feel like you anticipated their need — and who wouldn’t feel special if that happened?

    Drew

  16. Jim,

    You are so right — I cannot imagine that a man thought of that either. It’s the kind of loving gesture that a woman would pride herself in thinking of — and rightly so. It was brilliant.

    Drew

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