Last week I visited Smith’s Hotel at Gretna twice. Once to meet my sister for lunch and once to get a very late lunch on the way back from a meeting. On both occasions I was really impressed with the prompt service and the friendliness of the staff. I tweeted about this and also added that if you like Bride watching Smith’s is a great place to go as you can sit all day and watch Brides come and go often in a horse and cart! Smith’s tweeted me back and asked if I was going to mention it in my blog! I liked the pro active thinking so here is the mention of Smith’s in my blog. A good stopping point on the A74 if you want a bite to eat that isn’t going to take you forever to get. Good quality food and very friendly staff plus the opportunity to spend the time bride watching!
Smith’s also got me thinking that good customer service stands out from the crowd? Why? Because so often we either get mediocre customer service, indifferent or really bad service. So much so that we come to expect it and then when you do have a good experience it does stand out from the crowd! As a business we always push the value of good customer service to our clients as it is quite literally a way that you business can keep your existing customers, get them to talk about you so that you get new customers and by offering great service you will get new customers. Word of Mouth is the most effective form of marketing but it can also be the most destructive if you get it wrong.
So Smith’s tweet made me think yet again about the value of good customer service. Yesterday I was in Edinburgh and as usual there was lots of indifferent service though I am glad to report no dreadful service. A few places though stood out for me. The lady at the entrance to the toilets at Waverley Station I was about to pay for my daughter. She cheerfully told me that kids are free with a big grin! The White Stuff store in Gerorge Street. I had heard from friends that it was a lovely store and I would recommend a visit just to see the building it is really beautiful example of Georgian architecture. But also the staff were so friendly. Not pushy, no heavy sales patter just friendly and helpful! Then Centre Tre in Edinburgh where we had lunch! My daughter has a heavy cold and cough and they were so concerned about her in a way as a mum made me feel that they valued our custom. We were there to meet my mum and her lifelong friend who was over from Canada and I wanted my daughter to meet her. It would have been a great lunch anyway as it was so good to see Stella. But it was made extra special as you felt that not only did the restaurant serve great food but they cared too.
One other place that has stood out for me over the summer is the Hebridean Art Cafe which I mentioned in my blog on Harris. https://fionadranesblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/falling-in-love-with-the-island-of-harris/. Not only was this a celebration of the colours of Harris which I love as they happen to be my favorite colours. But also the customer service was great. On arrival we got told what cakes were available and customer service was quick and friendly. I also fell in love with the information book that they had which told you why they had set up the Gallery and Cafe. Lots about the food they served and also about the artists and craftpeople whose products they sold. Won’t cost much in money to do though must have taken time to compile but it made the gallery and cafe stand out for me as the booklet made me immediately realise that the owners Lesley and Alisdair Wiseman cared about what they did. A view that is shared by their Trip Advisor page http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g316008-d2384868-Reviews-Hebrides_Art-Isle_of_Harris_The_Hebrides_Scotland.html.
So a thank you to Smith’s at Gretna you not only gave me great customer service but you also inspired a celebratory blog. About businesses that stand out from the crowd by simply doing what all businesses should do. Offering great customer service that makes you love that business and want to return.