Tuesday, August 10, 2010

10 ways to Support your Best Customers-2

Time to continue our series:

10 Ways to Support Your Best Customers

Every company is in the service industry, right? Expert pointers for how to best perform for your best accounts.

By Inc. Staff |

Even if you're not in the customer service business, there's one clear way to please your customers: act like serving them is your first priority. We've compiled tips from expert interviews and articles that have appeared in Inc. and on Inc.com to find the most poignant pointers for pleasing your most valuable customers.

2. Mind the customer's mood.

Perhaps you can learn something from a tactic used at the world-famous Inn at Little Washington, where it's been said the tastiest thing served up is the service itself. It was founded in 1978 by chef Patrick O'Connell, who believes people aren't impressed by what you know or what you can offer until they see that you care. And you can't possibly care in any meaningful way unless you have some insight into what people are feeling and why. Enter the "mood rating." When a new party arrives in the dining room, the captain assigns it a number that assesses the guests' apparent state of mind (from 1 to 10, with 7 or below indicating displeasure or unhappiness). The mood rating is typed into a computer, written on the dinner order, and placed on a spool in the kitchen where the entire staff can see and react accordingly. Whatever the circumstances, O'Connell's goal is crystal clear: "No one should leave here below a 9." To that end, restaurant staffers spare nothing in their attempt to raise the number – be it complimentary champagne, extra desserts, a tableside visit from one of the owners, even a kitchen tour. "Consciousness to the extreme is great customer service," O'Connell says. "If guests ran into terrible traffic on the way over here, or are in the midst of a marital dispute, we need to consider it our problem. How else are we going to ensure that they have a sublime experience?" Read more.

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