A Lesson in Customer Service

| by Shannon Williams

Earlier this year I was searching for a private space in Raleigh for part one of a strategic planning process. Specifically, I was looking for a room for about a dozen people to engage in part meeting, part team building, including dinner.

I started by completing the online inquiry forms of about 10 different venues around town. After a couple of days, I heard back from two. Neither could accommodate my group. Then, I began calling dozens more restaurants, breweries, and other meeting spaces, leaving messages that largely were never returned.

One afternoon, I called Caffé Luna in Moore Square. Parker Kennedy answered the phone.

Ultimately, Parker’s private spaces were booked on my date, but he really tried to find a way to help. We talked through multiple scenarios, trying to figure it out. In the end, I thanked him for his time and told him I would definitely call him again the next time I needed a space. He apologized profusely.

I hung up the phone disappointed that we could not make it work, but grateful for his efforts. After countless forms submitted and messages left to seemingly black holes, it was refreshing to talk to an actual person who cared enough to help.

A few days later, the unexpected happened. I received a handwritten note from Parker expressing his disappointment that he was unable to accommodate my group and a gift certificate for me to come to the restaurant for lunch or dinner.

I was touched and slightly shocked. My name and company were barely mentioned in our conversation, but Parker clearly captured those details. Then, he took the time to track me down and send a note.

As you can imagine, I have shared this story many times in the past few months and I have referred people looking for a delicious meal downtown to Caffé Luna. In an age of digital reservations, online reviews, and ordering by app, old-fashioned, genuine customer service still matters.

Thank you, Parker and Caffé Luna! May we all be reminded that no matter our businesses, treating others the way we want to be treated is, in fact, the golden rule.

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