I was recently out to dinner with my wife Michele. We were at an italian restaurant that was new to us since we were visiting from out of town. I didn’t see my favorite dish on the menu so I thought I’d ask if they could make it.
When I asked the waitress if the kitchen could make eggplant parmigiana, Michele looked at me as if I was being some obnoxious customer. Why?
Later I asked her why the dirty stare and she said “why can’t you just order something off the menu like normal people?”
Did I do something wrong? This was an italian restaurant. It wasn’t as if I asked them to make a special order of Beef Wellington. Are customers expected to just order off the menu?
This got me thinking of the state of service and what makes for Fab Service.
In blog #13 “Have it your way,” we talked about how Burger King made a name for itself by making your food the way you wanted it vs the way other fast food chains decide how you’re going to get it. We talked about the concept of “listen to what the customer wants and give it to them.” Another Fab Service concept that relates to this is “The answer is yes, what’s your question.”
So what’s behind customers not wanting to go “off road” when ordering at a restaurant or anywhere? Is it wrong to ask if there are feather pillows when staying at a decent hotel? The airlines have wised up to this idea and they charge you for it! Want an aisle seat? More money. Exit row? More money. Suitcase? More money. You can’t even get something to eat on some airlines without paying for it.
So what’s behind the apprehension of asking for more? Is that viewed as putting the server out of her way? Or, is it that we shouldn’t expect anything more than basic service today’s businessworld of mediocre service?
I’m not sure what the answer is but I know how we approach special requests.
At Fabricare, we have a long list and a variety of special customer requests. Starch on shirts can be light, medium, heavy or none at all. Pants can be pressed with or without a crease. Shirts can be packaged in a paper bag, cardboard box, or a recyclable bag. They can be hung or folded. The list goes on and on. We even have one customer who likes his hangers turned the opposite way which is a pain because our whole production facility is designed for the hangers to go in one direction. Then we also have some customers who actually give us their own hangers!
It is my belief, that we have a culture at Fabricare of giving people whatever they want. In fact, I truly believe we welcome the uncommon request because we’ve built our business and systems around it.
Please respond to this if you have a customer with a unique request that we service.