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The Art of Exceptional Customer Service

Recently, my husband and I dined at Christini's Ristorante Italiano in Orlando, Florida. We both agreed that we had never before enjoyed such a fine dining experience. Discussing what made Christini's stand out from other places we'd dined, we agreed that this establishment has the art of exceptional customer service down to a fine science. There were three keys to our pleasure that evening - every business's customer service program should have them as cornerstones.

Attention to detail: We were greeted cheerfully by the maitre d' and led to our table where our napkins were placed on our laps, with an "Allow me, Mrs. Haggerty - allow me, Mr. Haggerty." The tables were furnished with crisp linens and sparkling glassware, along with a tasteful bouquet of fresh flowers. The d»cor was perfect and everything was in order and spotless. Many businesses can take lessons from this example. How many times have you walked into a store and seen merchandise strewn around? How many times have you walked into an office and seen desks piled high and wastebaskets overflowing? How many times have you walked into a place of business and been ignored rather than welcomed as an honored guest?

Responsiveness: During our entire evening, the waitstaff was totally responsive. Wine glasses were refilled with perfectly chilled wine before we noticed they were almost empty; used silverware was replaced with clean; water glasses were refilled; the table was "swept" after each course; we were constantly asked if everything was to our satisfaction. The food was exquisitely prepared and served - and totally delectable. I can't count the number of times I've been in other kinds of businesses and felt as if I was intruding - if I asked for something I was treated as if I was disturbing the staff's well-deserved peace and quiet or told, "It's over there."

Teamwork: Every person at Christini's from the person who cleared the table to the headwaiter to the maitre d' functioned as part of a well-trained and well-organized team. The waiters all pitched in to help each other out at all the tables. As he presented me with a perfect long-stemmed rose, the headwaiter, Angelo, asked us if this was our first visit to Christini's. When we replied affirmatively, he welcomed us and said he hoped we'd return. Not more than a few minutes later, the maitre d' came over and related that she'd been told it was our first visit - how had our dining experience been? "Please come back!" Sadly, I know we all know the feeling of being in other places and hearing the lament, "It's not my job!"

If all our businesses paid attention to detail, were responsive to needs and exemplified teamwork, as does the staff of Christini's, customer service at all of our offices, stores, restaurants, and places of business would be exceptional and we would have the "ART" down to a science!

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Plymouth, MA 02360
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