When we moved to Tucson, a friend gave us a dining card --- you know, one of those buy-one, get-one-free deals. It was one on which the restaurant staff hole punches the card once we have used it so we can only use it once. For us, it was awesome as it is helping us get to know all sorts of restaurants in the area.
Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, we took the card to the middle of town to a Mexican restaurant (we joke that my goal for the next three years we are living in Tucson, I want to eat at every Mexican restaurant I can). When we entered, we saw they had a Sunday brunch going on. It looked marvelous----everything you could ever ask for, including mimosas. While I don't drink anymore, Dave would be happy to partake. The waitress took one look at our card and said, "It doesn't apply to the brunch". Hmmm....in my mine, I wondered what difference it made. We are paying for ONE thing and getting ANOTHER thing free----who cares if it is a $16 entree or the $14 brunch? At any rate, we were fine. We just ordered off the menu but felt the service that day was definitely geared to the brunch crowd rather than the "ordering off the menu" crowd.
Fast forward to last night. After an entire weekend of hosting two Open Houses, we were treating ourselves to a night out at a local Italian restaurant, once again with the card. The wait staff was attentive and the food was delicious! At the end of the meal, the waiter looked at our card and said, "I've taken off the price for the second entree but don't give me your card. If I don't hole-punch it, you can use it again." Now, technically, is he supposed to do that? Maybe not, but what harm does it do besides "inviting" us back for another chance to get hooked on their Northern Italian cuisine. Sounds like a win-win to me.
While both meals were great, I'm thinking we will return more often to the second one, and it's not even Mexican food! :)
What is the cost, then, of good customer service? The answer is limitless, I think.
Just for today, let's think about whether we are being good customers and/or providing customer service that invites folks to return to us.