Customer Service – A Roux Approach


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The UK doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to customer service. While in reality it’s often nothing like as bad as some people think, it’s also a long way from the smiley “have a nice day” you’ll get in the US or the enthusiasm and professionalism from parts of Europe. It seems that when it comes to customer service, particularly in the hospitality industry, we Brits can be a little bit rubbish.

In an attempt to change this, and to make some good TV out of it, chef Michel Roux Jr. has recently created a television series in which he took 8 young people, none of whom had considered a career in service, and trained them up over 8 weeks to teach them about how important service is to a good dining experience service.

It’s been a fascinating program, particularly amidst the dozens of cooking programs that are on these day (most of which, I confess, with which I am moderately obsessed). Aside from the entertainment value of watching a group of 20-somethings getting dangerously close to reducing a Michelin starred restaurant to chaos, there were a couple of things that stuck with me.

Moments of Magic. Ok, this is essentially the old “Moments of Truth” we’ve all known about for years, rebadged to be a bit sexier for TV, but it still made me happy. The restaurant in question encourages its staff to develop an affinity with customers to the point where they can just tell what would make their evening more special. Knowing it’s a birthday and whisking out a dessert with a candle in it, or making a proposal more special somehow, it’s about elevating good, efficient service to an art form.

Knowing what the customers want before they even know it themselves. Roux mentions this in a blog post about the series. Again, this is art, bordering almost on wizardry. With experience though, it is doable and by observing, talking to and understanding customers over time and applying what’s been learned to the next customer.

The blog post (and TV series if you can access it online) are worth looking it. Although it’s specifically about the hospitality industry, a lot of the learning applies to many industries. Roux explains how communication is key to service, and that certainly, matters in all levels and in sectors of customer service.

A final lesson from Roux reminds us why customer service must be a focus for all businesses. In a restaurant, people forgive mediocre food much more readily than they will slack service. While of course we all strive for a great product, all the time, having bright, charming, efficient staff who have genuine empathy with the customers, will get you out of a lot of scrapes when your product isn’t quite what your customer hoped for.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Carolyn Hall
Carolyn Hall is a Product Marketing Manager with Confirmit. Primary focus on creating marketing and PR materials that focus on the business value of technology. Articles published in a number of marketing and customer-focused publications, and experience of hosting round table session with senior marketing executives.


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