I was on the West Coast for an engagement with San Diego SHRM last week. My hosts were kind enough to treat me to lunch at C Level, a Cohn Group Restaurant that sits atop San Diego Bay overlooking the city skyline and Coronado. The view is magnificent. The service philosophy is even better.
They keep it simple and capture the essence of the brand experience in one word: Absolutely!
The Absolutely philosophy evolved from their belief that customers should have a meaningful, memorable and customized experience. That is what it takes to realize this vision:
“Our aim is not simply to please our guests, but to make them so happy that the last thing they say to themselves as they are leaving is, ‘I cannot wait to come back!’ “
Absolutely is aimed squarely at elevating the guest experience. You want it. They try and make it happen. The best part of their obsession with the guest experience is the shift in employee awareness that evolves out of the Absolutely ethos — specifically, when they are in the unfortunate position where they can’t accommodate a guest request.
General Manager Jeff Pitroff explained to me that when you cannot respond with Absolutely, the idea is to think through the next best option given the circumstances. There is the magic. In lieu of Absolutely, the next best response is almost never a flat out “no.” In fact, it is probably a conversation that helps elevate understanding and gives everyone the opportunity to align around expectations. That makes a big difference.
What is your commitment to customer experience when Absolutely isn’t an option? What happens next is often key in determining whether or not that customer “cannot wait to come back.”
Thank you Jeff, JD and Natasha for a memorable lunch! If you were wondering about whether or not I am excited to return …. Absolutely!
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.