They Bent Over Backwards To Satisfy The Customer

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

I just got this in from my friend and super salesman, John Landrine in the US, about an experience he had this past weekend. I had to share it with you and I have a couple ofBend over backwards questions for you after you read this short story and example of customer service at its finest!

Excellent Service = More Sales
“Sean, I just had to tell you about what happened in a restaurant this weekend. My girlfriend, her daughter and I go to an Elephant Bar Restaurant in Fresno, California. It’s a Friday night and they are packed. Nevertheless, William, the waiter/server, takes real time to go over the menu and specials. This would normally not be anything extraordinary, except, William had such a motivational manner and self-conviction that you had to believe that HE truly was fan and loved the food himself. He was so enthusiastic that it showed he loved what he was doing and the establishment for which he worked.

However, after ordering and receiving our meals, we had a dilemma. The dish my lady ordered, was simply not what she thought it would be. Though the chef prepared the dish correctly, it did not match what she thought it would taste like. The daughter, did not completely enjoy her dish either, as it too was something she never tried before and it was not as she imagined.

My suggestion was that the ladies order something else and we see how we can fix the situation. However, since we had practically filled up on appetizers, which both women really enjoyed, they were resigned to just remember the next time at this establishment, not to order those particular dishes.

When William came back and noticed the still-full-plates, he naturally inquired as to what may have been wrong. We explained that the problem was not the food, but the choice they made and there was no problem.

Well, for William, there was a problem. He says, “You don’t look very happy. Let me see what my manager says about this…” and walks off. Then enters, Steve O., whom I guessed was a manager, supervisor, yet I found was an extraordinary sales person.

We explained to Steve O, that neither the food nor the service was the problem, but simply a poor menu choice; but Steve would not accept such as an answer. He began asking questions.

The Art Of Asking Questions
Sean, this restaurateur, manager, supervisor or what it may be, began asking questions that any sales professional should be asking in the discovery phase of a sales interaction.

“So exactly what is it that you did not like about this dish?”
“What types of spices do you like better?”
“What do you consider too sweet or too spicy?”

I was impressed.

From the answers he gathered from both of the women, he suggested a dish he thought they would both enjoy and offered to prepared it, serve it and add dessert all at no charge. The women resisted, again reaffirming that the restaurant had no fault.

Then, Steve’s reply nearly brought a tear to my eye, Sean. He said something to this effect…

“I really appreciate that. However, I cannot feel right having you leave knowing that your memory of your experience here may be a negative one. Even if the first few dishes did not work for you, then I rather you remember that the last one you tried was the best thing you ever had! I have to make sure that you leave with a positive experience at the Elephant Bar Restaurant, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.”

Whao! Sean, I could tell, I could FEEL, that William and Steve took their jobs personally!

Anyway, to make a long story short (which I know is already too late), Steve O and William served the extra dish and a custom crème brûlée for the ladies. The check? The check reflected only my meal and the drinks…complements of Steve O. So Steve INVESTED, maybe $50 or so (US) and he secured loyal patrons that are not only going to come back often, but one who will tell everybody he knows; and hey, I know a lot of people!

Sean, many of the sales professionals that we work with around the world could learn something about enthusiasm, customer service and belief in what they sell from big, tall William and Steve O at the Elephant Bar Restaurant in Fresno, California!”


John Landrine

A Few Questions
I thank John for relaying that experience and I can tell you that poor service can ruin a great meal. However, great service can make any meal great.

A few quick questions:

1. How personally do you take your job? Be honest. As a sales person, customer service representative, or whatever is your actual position title; ask yourself, how personally do you view what you do? Are you the, “I just work here…” type person? Or are you a PART of what you do and sell?

2. How enthusiastic are you about what you do? You have seen the product-line ten thousand times. You have demonstrated the machine over five thousand times. You have read that menu at least a thousand times. Are you still truly excited about what you do?

3. Are you willing and ready to do what it takes to ensure that your customers and clients have the best experience with you and your products or services? Are you committed to making sure that you deliver above and beyond what your competition can possibly do? Are you obsessed with being the best and delivering the best and making sure your customers experience the very best the industry has to offer? Or are you satisfied with just being “good.”

Sometimes, you may have to bend over backwards to be the best.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Borderlys at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 27 February, 2012