Too MUCH Customer Service?

By Frank Kenna

Last week I was inundated by well-meaning employees of a national hotel chain.  I was staying at their hotel for a couple of nights, and on the second night went to their restaurant for dinner.

The hostess greeted me warmly, showed me to my table, and the waitress came right over.  So far so good.

I ordered my meal, and the hostess came back over to see how everything was. Ummm… good since you asked me three minutes ago.  The waitress came back with bread and asked me if I needed anything else while I waited for my food.  No, I’m good.  A few minutes later, she came back with the food and 3-4 minutes later the hostess came back again and asked me how the dinner was.  Then the waitress was back to see if I wanted anything else.  Yes – 5 minutes of uninterrupted peace and quiet!

I finally finished and went to sit in the lobby to finish the newspaper I was reading. The hostess came by AGAIN and asked me how the dinner was.  Really?

And then – I kid you not – in the middle of the night I heard something slid under my door.  Assuming it was the bill, I ignored it.  In the morning I picked it up to find it was a thank-you note… from the restaurant thanking me for eating there last night.  This was customer service on steroids – the bad kind.  It was so over the top it was annoying and kind of creepy.  It seemed like there was some kind of employee training contest going on there and everyone was trying to score 100%.

So here’s a tip for customer service trainers: the service should focus on customer satisfaction, not on the amount of service that’s piled on.  Quality control not only applies to products; it applies to training, too.

Sharon Toelle
September 2, 2010

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