Last weekend Jayne and I stayed in a city hotel, while we were presenting our one day Practice Management Event at Darling Harbour.
We stayed in one of the newer city hotels.
After our event had finished, Jayne and I met up with some of the event sponsors and event attendees at the bar in the hotel for a post-event adult beverage.
Our waiter was Sam.
I’m glad we learned his name because we never saw much of him.
When Jayne and I joined the group [we were late arriving after packing up our conference room] our friends had already been served by Sam.
We knew this because they were sitting with empty drink glasses in front of them.
Have you ever been made to feel invisible?
When Sam came over to take our orders he made me feel as if I was invisible.
And it was probably because I was the oldest in the party.
But I was the thirstiest.
And the hungriest.
But that didn’t seem to register with Sam.
And nor did it register with him that I could have been the one picking up the bill.
What surprised me about Sam’s LACK OF service to our group [and to me] was the way he brought the last order of drinks before we went off to dinner.
Now the last order was really easy. It was two drinks, and we were a party of five.
[What this meant was that three of the group were not having another drink].
What Sam did was just plonk the two drinks down in front of people who the drinks were not for, and then arrogantly walk away.
Sam had perfected the art of making the customer feel unimportant and invisible.
Please meet Sarah
At 8:00pm our party moved to the hotel dining room where we were served by Sarah.
Sarah, unlike Sam, was a true gem, and a pleasure to deal with.
She had a memory like a steel trap, and nothing was too much bother or trouble for her.
Sarah was attentive to our questions and requests.
If Sarah did not know the answer to one of our questions she was off to find out the answer and returned promptly with the answer.
Sarah’s powers of memory were astonishing.
She addressed every member of our dining party by name throughout the night, and on one occasion was able to remember two four-digit Club member numbers [despite a distracting interruption] without needing to write those numbers down.
She offered advice on wine and was quick to anticipate the diminution of our beverages throughout the evening, ensuring and providing replenishment in very appropriate time frames.
At the completion of our meal, Sarah offered a hand written thank you card.
Sarah was one to behold.
And then there was Sam.
Following dinner our dining party returned to the bar area to join a small group of clients and seminar attendees for an after dinner nightcap.
And Sam was our waiter.
And wait we did.
In fact, at one point it seemed our table had two empty drink glasses for each member of our group.
And no replacement beverages.
It seemed that Sam was busy chatting up a group of three very young female patrons over beside the bar and while doing so he was neglecting his tables.
When I questioned the floor management about Sam’s LACK OF service they said he was not noted for this.
Well he WAS NOTED for this by our group.
And that was all that mattered.
What’s the dental application here David?
There are times in the dental surgery when we do get busy, but we should never ignore our paying customers.
And nor should we ignore our paying customers, no matter whether or not they are the type of person we identify with, or not?
Am I making sense?
I don’t think Sam had the interests of his employer at heart.
I think Sam was too busy focusing on his own interests firstly.
The reason that customers change their patronage of ANY businessis primarily because they feel ignored or taken for granted.
At no time did Sarah our food waiter take our party for granted.
Sarah made us feel important.
He ignored us.
On multiple occasions.
I really hope Sam learns a lesson from this.
He wasn’t five-star standard.
He let the whole establishment down.
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