Someone gave me a gift card to a restaurant called Texas Roadhouse. I had hung on to it for a few months and then decided to treat myself to lunch last week.
It was my first time there. And I have to say, I was quite impressed. I’m a “true believer.”
For starters, the hostess who seated me was exceptionally friendly. And that was not an anomaly. The server was also a delightful young lady who was also exceptionally friendly. And they seemed to have a team approach to service, as I encountered at least two other workers who approached me with various elements of my food order. All of them were very professional.
One of the first questions my original server asked me was, “Have you been here before?” I told her I had not. That triggered something I found rather spectacular: about 4 minutes after she walked away from that initial encounter, a man approached me carrying a sample platter consisting of the items you see in the photo accompanying this article — chili, garlic mashed potatoes, some sort of sautéed mushroom and onion combination, corn, and green beans in a very tasty, rich sauce. He said, “Enjoy this sample platter since this is your first time visiting us,” and he walked away with a smile.
The food I ordered (barbecue chicken and rib combination) arrived soon enough and it was hot and delicious. That suggested to me attention to detail, pride in one’s work, and an ability at high quality outcomes.
The check came in a timely fashion, and when I asked for a to-go container, because I only at half of my main meal (the sampler platter filled me up a bit) my server brought it to me in less than 60 seconds. She also noticed I might appreciate having a bag, which she offered to get for me, and then brought the bag to me also in less than a minute.
On my way out the door I noticed a glass display of the kind one might see in a butcher shop: it contained some delicious-looking steaks they sell the way any supermarket might sell them. They looked very fresh. I made a mental note that when I next decide to purchase steak, I will buy them at Texas Roadhouse.
What was the one thing that got me to commit to being a Texas Roadhouse devotee?
There wasn’t one thing. My commitment to be a regular customer came from them doing a whole host of things right. They clearly trained their staff to consider carefully the customer experience. They worked as a team to support each others’ efforts. But if I had to pinpoint only one thing that had the biggest impact, it would be the sampler platter. It was unexpected. And it was a welcome gesture.
Any of us who wish to make believers out of our customers can learn some important lessons from my experience.
Ask yourself: What would please or delight my customers? What unexpected little “extra” could I throw into the mix that would be appreciated?
Such gestures usually don’t cost you much, and what they provide in terms of a return usually far outweighs whatever costs were associated with whatever you did.
If you find yourself thinking, “But I just can’t afford to give away samples of my service or product,” recognize that you’re not thinking about this in a productive way. The truth is, you can’t afford not to make the necessary expense to blow away your customers with extra-mile service.
It’s not hard to dazzle your customers. And “dazzle” is precisely what you should go for. Your competitors will be left in the dust and you will win the loyalty of people, just as Texas Roadhouse has won my loyalty.
Not a bad investment.
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