Notes from the President

Ken Hilton - President Red Wing Software

Since Red Wing Software is in the customer service business, I am always acutely aware of the kind of service I get from other businesses so I can learn the best ways to take care of our customers, and the kinds of service that can drive them crazy. (We try to avoid the latter.)
One day last week, I had the “opportunity” to be “WOWed” by the customer service at two local restaurants. Even though Red Wing, MN is a relatively small city, we have a number of “chain” eateries available to us. One such establishment is Culver’s, famous for their “ButterBurgers”. Since all their items are made-to-order, you order at the counter and they bring the food to your table when it’s ready. The food is good, but I also go there to watch their amazing staff.
As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with a friendly voice from behind the counter. I placed my order, took my number to place on the table, and sat down. I watched as the employees working as a team, cleaned tables and chairs, and picked up loose paper and fries from the floor. The neat thing is, they were interacting with customers, and smiling the entire time. While I sat there eating my meal, at least four different people stopped by to make sure everything was to my liking. When finished, I just sat there for a few minutes admiring how this organization was operating like a well-oiled machine. Finally, a young lady came over and said, “We have an extra ice cream cone - would you like it?” and handed me the treat. Most places would have just thrown it out, but she took the opportunity and effort to make an already happy customer even happier. I was “WOWed”. Then, as I walked out, a voice from behind me said, “Thanks for dining with us; have a great day”.
My other experience last week was with another national restaurant chain that shall remain anonymous. When the hostess finally noticed that we entered, she showed us to our table where we waited a few minutes for someone to take our drink order, and then a little later our food order. When our order arrived, we had to ask for another place setting because the three of us didn’t want to share the two knives and forks they had supplied us. The food was good, as usual, but then it came time to pay. I was fortunate to be a guest of the person across from me who was buying. There was a touch screen device on the table that was to be used for payment. After mentioning how disgustingly filthy the device was, I watch as he punched buttons and slid his credit card through the machine at least eight times trying to make it work. After struggling with the device, finally a server stopped by to help complete the transaction. Since he needed a receipt that was printed somewhere else in the building, the staff member had to retrieve it. I thought “WOW” wouldn’t it have been much easier for everyone if the staff member would have just taken the card, or even run it for us right at the table, instead of struggling with this device that was mostly in the way the whole time we were eating. A totally different kind of “WOW”!
In business, every contact we have with a customer, or prospective customer, is a chance to “WOW” them. We should all focus on making sure they are “WOWed” in the right way.
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