Saturday, June 23, 2007

Great Example of Anticipating a Customers Needs

Terrible customer service experiences as well as excellent ones need to be told. I, like most of you, am continually amazed at how bad customer service has become. A truly great customer experience almost appears to be the exception, not the rule anymore. So here is a great, no, amazing story that just happened to me. It gives us hope that the art of truly serving the customer isn't dead.

Gayla and I took some friends to Casa de Pico in its new location in Grossmont Center. Many of you may remember "Casa de Pico" when it was located in Old Town, San Diego. A great loss for San Diego, but the Bazar del Mundo plaza was recently taken over by a Delaware company after it beat a San Diego icon, Diane Powers, at the State Park bid process. I need only mention that Diane took this dilapidated project over 25 years ago and turned it into the most successful lease operation in State Park history. Many claim it was a political move. All I can say is, I did visit the Bazaar and its has lost all of what Diane envisioned and created. Needless to say, I haven't eaten there or taken guests there since the East Coast company took it over. And now I hear they are planning on turning it into a Western theme. Now that's what San Diego is all about.....the Wild, Wild West. NOT!

OK, back to the real story. So Gayla and I are eating at Casa de Pico in Grossmont. I order their new Salmon Salad. Before our food even arrives the waitress comes to our table and tells me that in the kitchen she noticed that the salmon on the salad was rather small. She said she told the chef to cook a larger one for me! I didn't even ask her to do this, or even anticipate it! When our food arrived, mine was not included. She apologized and immediately got my salad with the original salmon. As she was placing this salad in front of me she said she didn't want me to wait for my food while the rest of my table was already eating. "The larger salmon is on its way", she said. Not ten minutes later she arrived with another plate with a huge salmon on it. She again apologized again and said it was a new item on the menu and and the cooks were still learning about the new items.


We all obviously really like having our complaints addressed and fixed by someone. But to have them even anticipate a customers need is amazing. I don't know if there is such a term for this, but in my book , this should be called something like "Proactive Customer Service". It reminds me of Disney giving font line sales and ticket agents up to $250 per employee a day to immediately solve customers concerns and complaints. They instituted a policy that was pro-active. They didn't have to say, "Let me get a manager" or "Let me get a supervisor". They were empowered to take care of the problem immediately.

Diane Powers, wherever you are, you continue to wow us with your incredible dedication to quality, finesse, glamor, and phenomenal customer service. Thank for making our experiences shopping at your stores and dinning at your restaurants such a truly artful and satisfying experience.

PS. I am no way am related to Diane Powers or any business she is involved it. I am just a customer that has come to love what she has created and instilled in every business she touches.

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