I decided to take them to an Italian joint that I frequent regularly after telling them how great the food and service is there. Being Super Bowl Sunday, I expected the restaurant to be slow unlike other nights where you either need a reservation or you stand in line for an hour.
We arrived, walked in and immediately got a table. After 15 minutes I had to ask whether someone would be coming over to take a drink order. It went downhill from here. Service was non-existant, the food took forever to come out and when it did it was cold.
My dining companions looked at me with bewilderment after how I raved about the place and vowed never to come back. I tried to explain that this level of service was not normal and that they should definitely try it on another night.
In any business first impressions count. Whether you’re running an eCommerce store, restaurant or bordello, if you don’t “wow” your customers they’re not going to come back.
In the case of the restaurant, they knew this particular night was going to be slow, so they scaled back help. Unfortunately, they scaled it back a little too much and they ended up making a poor first impression on my dinner guests.
When a customer comes to your store, you have to be ready to serve them. And service comes in many different forms:
- Good Product Descriptions – whether it’s describing chicken marsala or a Prada handbag, be descriptive and give the customer all the information they need to make an informed decision.
- Service Please – like a service desk in a department store, have a service section on your website that answers frequently asked questions, provides contact information, links to your store’s policies and allows the customer to fill out a form and provide feedback.
- Be In Touch – your service desk needs to be staffed. Make sure you have knowledgable, friendly customer service reps on the other end of your phone and email and monitor them to make sure they’re providing customers with the correct information, helpful service and a smile.
- Layout and Design – your website needs to be laid out and presented in a customer friendly way. Your popular sections should be easily accessible, navigation should be straightforward and non-redundant, and the add-to-cart button should be up front and center on your item pages. Providing a clear path for customers to find product, add it to their cart and checkout is just like providing clear aisles for people to browse and shop in a grocery store.
I lost my chance to get my friends to try that sauce house again. Take a lesson from the restaurant owner and make sure your customer’s first impressions lead them to seconds and thirds.