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The Cheesecake of Tomorrow

The art of proper response is an imperative element in a good customer service training program. How staff members handle themselves under pressure can have a huge impact on customer impressions and willingness to patronize an establishment in the future.

Ideally, customer service training will teach staff to focus on customer needs. There are simply good ways to handle uncomfortable situations and bad ones. When staff members are instructed to focus on customer needs rather than policies, rules, dates and regulations a better impression is left.

An example of the need for customer service training to zero in on conversational skills comes from a restaurant scene I witnessed.

At an elegant resort in Mauritius, the dessert menu was rather sparse. One customer asked the waiter for “The Special Dessert of Today.”

The waiter returned from the kitchen and reported flatly, “We only have the cheesecake of tomorrow.”

Nonplussed, the customer asked for further explanation.

“The Special of Today is sold out,” the waiter explained, “We only have the cheesecake of tomorrow.”

“Well, can I have a piece of the cheesecake of tomorrow?” asked the guest.

“I suppose so,” replied the waiter, and brought this customer a piece of tomorrow’s cheesecake – today.

Key Learning Points

What staff members say to your customers reveals a lot about how they are trained and what they consider to be possible, or important. The right language can mean all the difference in the world in regard to customer satisfaction.

Action Steps

Use a mystery shopper (or be a mystery shopper). Visit your business in person and over the phone. Listen carefully to how your staff reply when asked a series of routine, unusual and penetrating questions. Host a customer service training session to teach them to focus on customers’ needs, not on policies, dates and procedures. Create satisfied customers today, or those customers may go elsewhere tomorrow.