by Francis j. Kong
I had a scheduled talk in Tagaytay.
It was a stormy day. But a commitment is a commitment.
And so early 6:30 morning, My wife Lilia, Pam my assistant and I left Manila and took the South Luzon Expressway. We arrived early. We haven’t had our breakfast. I know a very nice place called Santis; tried it before and fell in love with a dish they made called Tuna Sashimi salad. I’ve always wanted to go back and taste that dish again and now the moment is here.
The store opened at 8AM and we entered the place 2 minutes before eight. Judith the manager welcomed us. And when I told her I would love to taste their famous Tuna Sashimi Salad she said, “Sir, I am sorry but the chef will come in at 8:30AM but please do make yourself comfortable and I can bring you anything else you like.”
I felt sad. I really wanted to have my companions try it. I said, “Oh, to be honest, having a plate of Tuna Sashimi Salad is the reason why we are here this morning.”
Judith offered another option saying, “Sir, we have freshly baked bread and we have sausages and other things you may want to choose from and we will be more than happy to prepare it for you.”
I said “thank you.” I ordered coffee and sadly commented, “Maybe we can get to order that the next time we get here.”
Judith looked at me and asked, “Sir, do you really want it? I can try to fix it for you.” I said, “You would? That’s mighty nice of you.”
After a few minutes, the dish was served. And I was delighted. It may not be as good as the one prepared by the chef but it was better. Because it comes from a heart of one who really wants to serve.
I asked for a piece of paper. I wrote a letter addressed to her boss and complimented her on her dedication to customer service. And just before I left, the owner of the store happened to call up the store and I had a chance to talk to him. I told him I appreciated Judith’s effort, I will write about this experience in my column and I did say, “And oh yes, by the way, the food is great too!”
Suddenly we all realized that the food quality – as good as it was – becomes secondary to the excellent service extended. Now this is real customer service in action. I doubt it if I could really say, “Today, a chef was born.” But I could by all confidence claim, “Today, a loyal customer has been created!”
It would have been easy for Judith to say, “I am so sorry but we could not serve the dish without the chef.” But she went out of her way, inconvenienced herself, took on the responsibility of the task and served me what I wanted.
In other words, Judith found ways to serve and now she is recognized and I really hope she would be rewarded.
Successful people find ways. Excellent institutions find ways.
Is it any coincidence why the leading banking institution in our country today has it as their slogan: “We find ways?” And being with them as a trainer for quite a while I certainly know that they are really serious in living up to this claim?
Excellent people find ways. Mediocre people find reasons.
Excellent people improve. Mediocre people decline.
Excellent people smile. Mediocre people whine.
Excellent people think out of the box. Mediocre people rarely even think.
Excellent people do their responsibility. Mediocre people do their job.
Excellent people are committed. Mediocre people are compliant.
This is why excellent people succeed while mediocre people never do.
My wife The Ilocana and my associate Pam enjoyed breakfast. They did love the Tuna Sashimi Salad. I went to the venue, gave my talk and on our way back was trapped in the South because of the terrible flood that gripped the entire city.
We checked in a hotel. Spent the night there but still talked about our experience with Judith. It was just a simple Tuna Sashimi Salad but what a lesson we can all learn from it.
Excellent customer service after all is simply inconveniencing one’s self for the convenience of others. And it squares with Scriptures that says: “Do unto others… as if you were the others.” (paraphrased of course).
by Francis j. Kong