Monday, November 17, 2014

We Pay-It-Forward With Amex

By Wendy Kam Marcy

Toronto is truly a foodie heaven. I live in King West and there are easily over 100 restaurants a hop, skip and jump away from my doorstep. So when it comes to deciding where to dine out, customer service plays a key part in my decision making.

Did you know...

"Canadian consumer attitudes on where they conduct business are heavily impacted by customer service. Not only are they willing to pay a significant amount (12%) more for good service, many of them (57%) have also made decisions NOT to conduct business with a company due to poor service experiences."

As a brand dedicated to providing premium service to its Cardmembers every day, Amex recognizes the impact great service has on its customers. For over 160 years, American Express has worked to create a brand in Canada that offers unparalleled service and experiences in an authentic and meaningful way.

Click infographic to enlarge

My latest task as an Amex Ambassador was to "pay-it-forward" by honouring someone who has provided exemplary service this year.

Meet Erin Hill! She is a server at one of my favourite restaurants that offer an expansive menu of organic and healthy comfort food. It's not your typical fancy schmancy upscale place but Erin consistently delivers five-star service!

She is sincere and we always feel like we can take our time to leisurely enjoy our meal. I also really appreciate that she anticipates our needs (fills our water glasses, clears dishes away, etc. without us asking) but knows not to interrupt if it looks like we're engaged in our conversation. Plus she always remembers to bring extra hot sauce (hubby likes it spicy)!

I love dining at an establishment that we can rely on for stellar service. Being an Amex cardholder and ambassador for the past 3 years, I've come to really appreciate first class service - which Erin continuously delivers.

The focus then is on your company and the delicious food rather than dealing with incompetent or awkward staff. Geoff and I come here often for this reason and we leave satisfied with happy bellies. I always recommend this place to my vegetarian friends and those with babies/kids (they are stroller-friendly!).

We chatted with Erin after we surprised her with a $100 Thank You Amex Gift Card. A little act of kindness for her great service.

1) Tell us about Erin!

I have been serving on and off for ten years, from fine dining to pubs to specialty restaurants. I am also starting up a Psychotherapy practice. My hobbies are woodworking, jewelry making, surfing and biking. I also love being outdoors. I have an interest in communication, human behavior, how we as humans communicate with other species, and learning new things.

2) What does excellent customer service mean to you?

Genuineness, being attentive, being a team player, helpful, knowledgeable, having the ability to read social cues, smile, and the ability to prioritize on the job.

3) What is the most bizarre or outrageous request you received from a customer?

Hmmmm let's say someone came into the restaurant and ordered a whole cake to eat by themselves (lol) or this other person who ordered two meals and asked if I could mix them in a big bowl so they could eat one giant meal!

4) Is the customer always right?

Within reason, yes. I do my best to make sure the customer is well taken care of and satisfied. I choose to work for independent restaurants instead of chains which means I can't just give everything away for free and appease unreasonable people. I can however, help within reason and I will do it to the best of my ability.

Canadian consumers are talking about customer service!

Overall they tell 8 people about their good experiences and 17 about their bad. The majority of them are talking about these experiences with one another in person, but Canadians, especially turn to social media to vent frustration over bad customer services experiences (51%).

What's your best customer service experience?

Share your highlights with us in the comments below and/or on Twitter @hipurbangirl and don't forget to follow @AmexCanada #AmexLife to learn about exceptional service.

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