Lets face it. Eating dinner in an airport is not exactly an adventure down some path of gastronomical delights. Most of the time if a layover occurs around the dinner hour, you make your way over to a grab-and-go and score a wrap made a day earlier, or a slice of pizza fresh out of the industrial microwave.
Occasionally there may be a glimmer of hope by seeing a T.G.I. Friday’s or in last night’s case, a Legal Seafoods. Now chains have never been high up on my list of choices when it comes to going out for dinner, but in an airport, they often times suffice for a quick bite.
So over to Legal I go for a salad and some fried shrimp while I await my flight. I get seated at a “community” table of single travelers, where the seating was about as comfortable as a 12 hour flight in coach. A middle aged woman sits across from me and the server comes over to take her order, and the conversation went something like this:
Customer: “How is the blackened swordfish?”
Server: “I don’t know, I don’t eat seafood.”
Me: “Then why the <beep> are you working here?”
I may have been a little rough on the poor girl, but I’m sure it’s not the first time she heard the f-word. But I sat there for a moment wondering what just went on. I’m sitting in a seafood restaurant, and a server can’t tell the customer about a seafood dish because she doesn’t eat seafood.
In any business, whether you’re the owner, a supervisor, a customer service rep or a server, you are expected to be the expert in what your business offers. Whether it’s swordfish or fountain pens, when a customer asks a question about something you sell, they expect an educated answer.
In this instance, the server didn’t have to say she doesn’t eat seafood. She simply could have said, “I serve a lot of the swordfish and the customers who order it blackened really enjoy it, it’s a good choice if that’s what you’re in the mood for.”
I have never kept any of my dogs in a dog crate, that’s my personal preference. But I sell dog crates. I know that an important part of housebreaking puppies is crate training and that even after they’re crate trained, the crate should remain their “home.” When a customer asks me about a which crate to buy, I don’t say, “Well, I never crate trained my dogs because I don’t like to see them in a crate.” I simply ask the proper questions that lead me down the path to recommending the proper crate for the size of their dog.
Being an expert in your company’s products doesn’t take years of training. Most of the time it just involves familiarizing yourself with the different items, their use, hearing feedback from customers and a little touchy-feeley with the items themselves.
Little things like this go a long way in gaining the customer’s respect and getting them to fork over the credit card.
Even if they hate seafood.