I went out to dinner last week with my SO (significant other) to the only restaurant we regularly and repeatedly visit on the island. Admittedly, we are a little snobby when it comes to eating out. We both enjoy cooking and do a pretty tasty job of it, so we eat at home most of the time. Our philosophy is, why go out and eat a half-way decent meal when we can make something just as good, if not better, at home. Plus, food is expensive on the island, so eating out, even at a burger joint, runs a few bucks higher than stateside places. We go back to the same place because we know we will get a good tasting meal, at a reasonable price. As repeat customers, and because we have a good friend that works at the restaurant we have gotten to know the owners, the chef and the staff.
The other night, I was disappointed to learn that my favorite dish was recently taken off the menu. I was discussing my options with our waiter friend, trying to decide what else to have when he suddenly took off towards the kitchen. Without hesitating, he went into the kitchen to ask the Chef if he would prepare the old version of my favorite mahi mahi dish. Of course, no problem! How happy was I?! You can’t ask for better customer service.
I got something special that night because of the relationships I have formed with the people at Banana Tree Grille. The people make this a place we want to return to. The atmosphere and the quality of the food are also good, but my loyalty is due to the people.
We started to wonder if we would continue to come to Banana if the people we have become friendly with no longer worked there. Would the experience be the same for us? Are we interested in developing relationships with new owners, a different chef or a change in staff? We’re not sure. Even if the service was top of the line, the food was award-winning, and we were given the best table in the house, we would miss the relationships that have developed over time.
For me, in life and in work, it has always boiled down to – the relationship. I experienced exceptional customer service because of the relationships I had cultivated. The people at Banana Tree showed me that my repeated patronage was valued, that our relationship was just as important to them as it was to me. From their perspective, it didn’t take much to ensure my continued loyalty, it’s still off-season on the island, so the restaurant was not packed. They had the ability to go above and beyond, they did, and I won’t forget it.
It’s important to me to offer my clients exceptional customer service, to make them feel special, and to over deliver on my services. However, I know that none of that will create repeat customers or matter as much as the relationship we develop. Showing each other respect, honesty and developing trust are the keys to loyalty and building a successful client relationship. My goal is to be able to demonstrate appreciation for my clients as clearly as Banana Tree did for me! Thank you Banana for my yummy dinner and for reminding me of the importance of the “relationship”!