The Value of Great Customer Service

Last night, we had two completely different dining experiences, which highlight the value of excellent customer service. It was a special occasion: we were celebrating the fact that my new book, Stress Express! 15 Instant Stress Relievers had been sent to press. We had invited some dear friends for a nice dinner out. We chose a beachfront restaurant, made reservations for a waterfront table, got dressed up and drove over. After we were seated, a waitress who clearly did not want to be our waitress came over and asked us what our member number was??? We explained that we were not members, that we had made reservations and no one had told us we had to be members. In a huff, she left the table, saying she had to talk to the manager.

We waited five minutes for the young, gruff and unpolished jr. manager to come over. He explained this was a private club. We said our friends so and so (whose family must have been members) had recommended the restaurant and that no one told us when we made reservations that we had to be members. He made it very clear that we had to leave now, in a rather embarrassing fashion. Completely insincerely, he said “I ‘m very sorry.” Not how I wanted my special night to start.

We called our friends, who had nearly arrived, and told them our conundrum. We then tried to figure out where we could go on a Sat. night. I called the Aqua Grill in Ponte Vedra from my cell, made reservations for four.

That was the beginning of our special night! We were greeted warmly when we came in and seated shortly after we arrived. My husband told the general manager, Cary Paige, about our unfortunate experience and how this was to be a celebratory evening. Cary empathized and demonstrated quickly his philosophy of service. After we were welcomed enthusiastically by Tricia, who artfully described the best entrees on the menu, we were treated to a complimentary serving of BangBang shrimp- absolutely delicious. We were so touched that they would make that generous gesture, but that was just the beginning. Throughout the evening, Cary, Tara and Tricia came to check on us, find out about the book and chat with us. Their interest in us and our experience was clearly genuine and made us feel valued. Every appetizer (we had three more) was scrumptious and our entrees were equally so. Generous servings of delicious food delighted us all, plus we had a lovely view of the lake. The highlight came when the dessert arrived with a miniature drawing of my book (with title ) in raspberry syrup! What a great touch. So thoughtful and so memorable. Of course we got a photo and I was absolutely thrilled. Now that was excellent customer service.

What they did at Aqua Grill was listen and make us feel valued. They took an extra few steps to turn around a special night and we will never forget it. Their interest in us was sincere; they delighted in celebrating with us. Their culture of service carried from the top down to everyone we encountered. They invested in us and they will definitely see the return. It’s now my new favorite restaurant and I will share with others how terrific they are. Although it’s rare, great customer service pays off in untold dividends. Thank you Aqua Grill, for a fabulous night! 950 Sawgrass Village Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 (904) 285-3017