Customer Service Excellence

Over this past weekend, I travelled with some friends to the City of Ottawa, the capital of Canada. It was the plum at the end of a week where my wife and I had painted several rooms in our home, and we looked forward to time with our friends and getting away if even for a couple of days, to relax and do the tourist thing.

The customer service we received at our hotel, the restaurant’s we visited, and the sites we took in was exceptionally good, and while I’ll share a couple of those with you, I really want to draw your attention to the impact that this service had on me, and what I did about it; see if you would consider doing something similar.

My first example comes in the person of Alexandra Blanchet who works at the Chateau Laurier hotel next to the Parliament buildings. The four of us as guests were attempting to see some of the Women’s World Hockey Championships that were coinciding with our visit. However, we had experienced some difficulty in navigating the website to purchase tickets, and so we asked if by any chance staff at the hotel might know of a way to help us out. Alexandra experienced the same difficulty initially, but contacted the arena by phone, offered her own email address as a vehicle to receive the tickets, allowed me access to her screen behind the staff counter to see the location of the seats, and then afterward, personally saw to it that the tickets were delivered to our room. All this with a smile, some laughter, and a positive attitude. The day after the game as I passed her by in the lobby, she said, “Hello Mr. Mitchell, how are you today?” She had even remembered my name and it was she not I, with the name tag on.

The second example came from a server at Tuckers Restaurant, which is a buffet establishment. To my disappointment I have now forgot her name, but the woman who took care of our table was fantastic. She laughed, she engaged us in conversation, she continually checked in with us and made us feel valued. After the meal, she said she hoped we would come back soon, and I was struck with her genuine wish that we would return.

Now to what I did for them. In the case of Alexandra at the hotel, I ensured that I filled out a customer satisfaction card which they provide if you wish to acknowledge the service of an individual there. I also made a point of telling her personally how much I really appreciated her service and attention to making our trip to the rink a reality. As we checked out, I also asked for the front desk Manager and made sure she was aware of Alexandra’s great customer service skills.

At the restaurant, as we left, I found our server, and took a moment to thank her, told her she had great people skills, great interpersonal skills, and a wonderful smile. She beamed even more and said she appreciated the compliment and turned things around and said how much it was a pleasure to serve our group of four. I too told the Manager of the restaurant how fantastic she was and I wanted him to know how lucky he was to have such an outgoing, enthusiastic employee who happily served and provided personal attention.

So why blog about this? Well, in my job as an Employment Counsellor, I get the odd compliment here and there from clients, but there are many that I provide the same level of great service to who just walk away with an automatic, “thanks” that is more a standard thing than sincerely said. Now I know it isn’t about how many people tell us how great we are, or how we provide excellent service, but those that sincerely thank us really do make our day don’t they? Of course they do. And whether or not people just walk away or gush all over us, we should provide that same high quality level of attentive service to our clients day-in and day-out. That is after all, what makes us professionals.

Now what will happen ultimately with my two people who provided this great service? I have no idea. It’s not expected by me that my compliment will get them a raise, because quite frankly while more money would be appreciated, I find that people who respond to positive customer feedback with sincere appreciation, find their reward in the actual interaction with their clients or customers. Are they motivated to get a higher tip as in the case of the Server? Perhaps. However, that Server had people skills that she was improving that I believe will ultimately take her to greater heights in her future employment.

If you get a chance today, tell someone how much you appreciate their service and attentiveness. It’s a small thing to do that can boost someone’s pride; the knowledge that someone noticed and you made a difference. And for you personally, perform your job as best you can, knowing that whether you get complimented or thanked, you may make an impact on someone in a profound way that doesn’t perhaps know how to thank you appropriately, or feels too embarrassed to do so. You and I, we have the capacity and the responsibility to lead by example.


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