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How to Deliver Four-Course Customer Service That Makes Mouths Water

Is your company or small business doing all that it can to attract, expand upon, and retain its customer base? If not, then you may be in trouble. But don’t fret just yet! There’s a simple rule of thumb to keep in mind if you want to ensure that your customers and clients remain satisfied with your business.

Keep this in mind: your business should be a four-course meal to customers. When you think about it, the components necessary in delivering a positive brand experience to customers aren’t all that different from the ones necessary in providing an exceptional dining experience. Here’s what I mean:

Offer an appetizing introduction to your business...

Offer an appetizing introduction to your business...

1. Appetizers

You can’t offer a meal without offering a little atmosphere first. Make your customers aware that your company is significant step-up from its industry competitors. Reel them in with breadsticks that hint at your brand’s always-positive and progressive outlook; offer them hot wings that call to mind an up-to-the minute approach to market research; serve up a tasty spinach and artichoke dip that’ll make them think twice about competitors. An appetizing introduction to your business will make the remainder of the meal all the more delectable!

Be the Caesar Salad of customer satisfaction!

Be the Caesar Salad of customer satisfaction!

2. Soup or Salad

Your brand’s website may be the proverbial French Onion or Broccoli & Cheddar Soup when it comes to layout and design, but front end management is only half the battle. At the end of the day, you’re going to need to demonstrate expediency. If the back end of your company can’t handle the onslaught of incoming calls and e-mails related to the product or service you’re providing, then your company will amount to little more than a meager House Salad without croutons. Questions about any and all aspects of your brand should be met with timely and appropriate responses if you want to be the Caesar Salad of customer satisfaction!

Appease your clients’ appetites with an irresistible entrée.

Appease your clients’ appetites with an irresistible entrée.

3. Main Entrée

It goes without saying that every operational element of your business must be primed to meet the demands of even the most fastidious client. Are incoming orders processed in an efficient manner? Is your staff organized and properly equipped with the ingredients necessary for making your brand the five star steak-and-lobster establishment it should be? Well, if you really want to appease your clients’ appetites, the answer should always be “yes.” Each stage of the customer’s interaction with your company should be as user-friendly as possible. From the client’s browsing experience at your website to their communication with your sales department to the processing of their credit card, they should feel comfortable every step of the way.

It definitely pays to be sweet!

It definitely pays to be sweet!

4. Dessert

If you want repeat business, then you’re going to have to earn it, and sometimes that might entail showing a little generosity. Was the customer’s experience with your company a positive one? Are you not sure? Why not at least make the effort to instill a little motivation and incentive. After all, it definitely pays to be sweet! And what’s sweeter than exuding patience and courtesy when representing your company? Not much, that’s for sure—except for maybe a customer rewards or loyalty program, which might be something worth looking into if you haven’t already. Customer retention is arguably more important now than it ever was, so it’s important to make giveaways the crème brulee of your brand experience.

As you can see, a plentiful meal is parallel to a well-rounded customer service experience. If you want to keep your clients happy, then be sure you’re delivering the highest quality service you possibly can. Your efforts will result in a satisfied customer or two!

Would you include any other elements? Have you ever experienced four-course customer service like this?



Joseph Giorgi

Joseph is the head of the Media Team at Quality Logo Products. He's a video specialist, blogger, perfectionist, and all-around likeable guy. When he's not busy focusing on the nitty-gritty details of his written and visual work, he's normally listening to bad 80s music and scouring the internet for useless information on useless subjects. You can also connect with Joe on Google+.

Comments

  1. JPorretto

    I’m sorry Joe, this is possible the worst blog I’ve ever read. It’s full of just meandering pointless dribble that has soured me on reading in general.

    April Fools! Duh. This is good stuff here.

    • Jill Tooley

      Whew! For a second there, I thought perhaps you’d transformed into a jerk overnight! ;)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Thank you!

      You actually had me going there. Nicely done!

      Of course, to sour someone on reading in general would actually be a pretty impressive accomplishment on my part, and I would probably be proud of it in some twisted way. So, the joke would have been on you anyway. ;)

  2. Jill Tooley

    Joe! I love this post! You’ve done an excellent job of tying everything together. There’s no exact formula for quality customer service, but I think these four steps/courses will put people on the right track. I can think of several companies that could stand to learn from this…

    Why is satisfying customer service so hard to come by lately? It seems like companies/businesses would be FIGHTING to earn the business of people like us. I don’t think representatives realize how far a pleasant attitude and some patience will go! Half of the time, my anger/frustration could be avoided if the person on the other line just listened to my concerns and tried to help me instead of acting like they’re powerless when it comes to my issue. Is my time (and money, for that matter) not just as valuable as anyone else’s?

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Thanks! :)

      And I agree. You’d think that most companies would take their customers’ questions and concerns seriously, but sadly that’s not always the case. In fact, it seems pretty rare. A little extra patience goes a long way when it comes to customer satisfaction, and that’s something for all businesses to keep in mind.

  3. jporretto

    I don’t know if I’ve ever received 4-star service from ANY company. Maybe… Meijer. They have everything I want, plus all the conveniences, plus the associates don’t hound me. OK, maybe it’s not 4 star service, but its the service I want. Like Taco Bell vs Fine Mexican dining. I’ll take Taco Bell everytime!

  4. Catarina Alexon

    Like the imagination thrown into this article!!

    Just not sure if customer service is the right thing to compare a fantastic meal to? By doing so you imply that the relationship between a client and a company isn’t on equal terms, which if you handle clients correctly it should be. Today if a company doesn’t give excellent customer service its days are numbered.

    Am used to eating in the best houses and restaurants in the world, and sincerely the service is almost always fantastic. My friends and top restaurants never point out the excellent service they give, it’s just done. And that’s the way it has to be with companies today if they want to have a bright future. Pointing out the good customer service you give, will make some people wonder if you had problems in that area recently and hence wrote the above article.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I see what you’re saying, Catarina. I wasn’t really suggesting that companies call direct attention to their customer service, just that they should make it a point to have high standards when it comes to the quality of that service.

      I think that one of the main goals of any modern business should be to impress the customer or client whenever possible, without actually making it known that you’re actively trying to impress them. A company should always seek to meet or exceed the expectations of its customer base, much like a top restaurant would seek to impress its patrons.

  5. Bret Bonnet

    This post made me hungry! :)

    Sadly – more often than not, most companies’ idea of great customer service resembles little more than bread CRUMBS on the floor rather than a four course meal.

    I’ve received NOTHING but poor customer service from some major industry/service providers recently. Ranging from my pool boy all the way up to a Fortune 500 security company – it blows my mind that these companies are still around today with the way they treat their customers.

    … debating whether or not I should share my experiences via a blog post. They are quite entertaining stories… thoughts?!?!?

    If QLP was an entree it would be Zagat rated and probably be best know for its “Flaming Alaska”! :)

  6. Rob Cubbon

    I agree, good post. I like the dessert – “if you want repeat business, then you’re going to have to earn it” – ask the client how the job went and if they’re going to need anything in the future.

    • Jill Tooley

      Thanks, Rob! That aspect is often overlooked, and I’m not sure why. A follow up can be the key to a long and meaningful client/business relationship! :)

  7. Keyuri Joshi

    I really like the title and breakdown of this post. Very clever! Your points are great too. In the soup or salad, I like the point about expediency. This is critical for me to provide to my clients. They should never ever be kept waiting or guessing. And yes… I expect it as a customer as well. Nothing irks me more than companies who feel their time is more valuable than mine… espcially when I’m the one paying.

    • Jill Tooley

      Thank you! Joe isn’t in the office today, so I wanted to respond on his behalf. :)

      Good point! Although a customer’s wait is sometimes unavoidable, it should be kept as brief as possible and he/she should stay informed every step of the way. I’ve come to expect confirmation emails whenever I order something online; even if a real person doesn’t contact me right away, at least I know that my order was received and that I’ll be contacted soon. On the other hand, I’d probably be on pins and needles if I placed an order or sent an important inquiry and I DIDN’T get a confirmation back. Isn’t it amazing how some companies have a “who cares?” attitude about customers and other companies go above and beyond to help? It makes me wonder how the BAD businesses are still around!

  8. Sherryl Perry

    Job well done! The title hooked me, the pictures added to the content. Not only did you make me hungry, you brought up some great points and told your story with a twist. I like your comparison of a loyalty program as being dessert.

    • Jill Tooley

      On behalf of Joe, THANK YOU for the compliment, Sherryl! I’m happy you enjoyed it…and it was just a bonus that you got hungry from reading it. ;)

  9. Billye Survis

    Anything that uses a food analogy has me hooked! So many times I hear to customer service referred to as “customer NO service” Great post!

  10. Susan Oakes

    I am a little late to the discussion and liked the way you described each course. The dessert one made be also think of the restaurants that give you something a little extra with your coffee just to say thank you.

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