Picture a busy Memorial Day weekend at Canalside Buffalo, lots of kiddie rides, two children under 2-1/2, four hungry adults and a torrential downpour all colliding at the same moment just as the clock strikes 12:30p.m. An interesting vision in itself, but now add the desire to take a quick break hoping for a nice lunch at the only sit down restaurant in close range. Enter lunch at the Liberty Hound.
I know you are picturing a disaster waiting to happen, but quite the contrary. The Liberty Hound impressed! It took a friendly front desk staff that was unshakeable despite the busy lunch time rush (made even busier by an unexpected rain storm). Friendly smiles, a clear expectation of wait time and a sincere interest in finding just the right spot for two hungry kids, one still wanting to be on the rides right outside the door. They had us at hello.
Our short wait was followed by a great table tucked in the corner out of traffic with a window seat for the little one that overlooked the canal and the waiting rides. A welcome smile from an attentive waitress followed by some creative menu making for the kids ("no we don't have any fruit, but I'm sure I can make something up for them"...and she did!) was the midpoint of a great customer experience. Great food followed, by continued attentive service and regular checking in from the wait staff. Finish the experience with the front end manager checking in to see if we liked the "special" table he found just for us.
In short, we had an excellent customer experience when it could have easily been average or worse. Quite frankly, given the conditions of the day, I would have been quite pleased with average. All it took was a little extra attention, clear communication and some friendly smiles to turn average into outstanding. The Liberty Hound left me a fan and loyal customer. We'll be back!
The moral of the story is that it didn't take much to make a huge difference. That is a sad reflection of what we've come to expect from our endless average or less than average customer experiences. Bump it up just a notch or two and your business can quickly become a customer loyalty machine. It doesn't take much!