One day at a restaurant slash pool hall slash bar, a manager walked right up to me and asked if I would like a part-time job serving, even today I have no idea where his offer came from but I didn’t take it, well not immediately. I went home and thought about it, then went back and I became a part-time server. I was in that business on and off for 10 years all while maintaining a full-time position in the hopes of pursuing my dream corporate job. By then, I mastered how to get the most tips possible and no it was not how drunk I could get patrons, in fact, I got my dream server job at one of the best restaurants in the USA that recently came to Canada and they reminded me of McDonald’s a whole lot. I was home.
There, I really learnt the art of engagement, retention, customer obsession and how it could make me a lot of fast cash. After mastering the company's clearly crafted processes, I considered going full time at 4 workdays a week. I could easily make way more money than my day job because I loved my guests and they loved me. You see, at this restaurant, I had the same guests every week, I knew their names, their families and their stories. They offered me countless jobs, all kinds of advice and some guests even wanted to start companies so they could hire me. This was all from my obsession in being extremely meticulous with every aspect of the experience I presented. I did everything and anything for my guests from holding babies so moms could settle in, to running out in the winter cold without a jacket to return a left behind cell phone. In the restaurant business, I had a limited time to welcome, engage, service and send off guests so I saw my reward in a very short period. My tip rate was way over 30% of my sales while the Canadian average is between 10-20%. I heard servers complaining about not receiving tips meanwhile they spent their time on cell phones or laughing in the kitchen. I ran my assigned section like a little business and I was always available to replace a dropped fork, refill a cold one, and celebrate a special occasion. I was always early for my shifts where I re-wiped tables and chairs, filled the ice bucket to the top, restocked cups, utensils, napkins, ensured there were clean booster seats and high chairs. I even double-checked soda lines. Oh no, my guests were not going to have flat Coca- Cola or Sprite. At this point, it wasn’t about the money, but more about the little notes of “thank you’s” on the backs of receipts, the long conversations and laughs with guests or the deep stories shared between guests and I. I had no family in Canada so they filled that gap even if only for a short amount of time.
Eventually, I got married when I moved to Jamaica permanently (that’s a whole other story), returned to Canada in hopes of creating a new family and did not return to the serving life- but oh, how I miss it even now. Read My Why Next
Hi there, I’m Shauna and I never thought about being in the client experience business at all. Not even close. In fact, I majored in Human Resource Management, became Project Management Certified and honestly struggled to find my place in the Canadian corporate scene. I was constantly considered only for administrative positions and entry-level posts which paid the bills and sufficed me in my 20’s. But after a couple of years in my positions, I would get uneasy and disturbed about the quality of work I was producing, why wasn’t this step automated, why wasn’t this process consistent and streamlined, why didn’t someone care about measuring the work the employees were doing to ensure it was absolutely efficient. I had so many questions but never got an answer. And while trying to raise these curiosities to my manager, I always got that “who does this girl think she is” look and “what could she possibly know”.
Little did they realize that this girl had been previously recognized 3 times in 6 months by one of the best small businesses in the world, McDonald’s, at just 17 years old. That was over a decade ago and still today most companies I have worked for or interacted with do not compare to McDonald’s perfectly executed business model. After 7 years of working and learning from the best in the business, I resigned for new adventures not realizing the abundance of knowledge and discipline I had been gifted. Read My How Next
I had been wearing glasses since I was 11 years old so a routine eye exam was the norm for me every 2 years as entered the doctor's office. But I now had specialized lenses of my own, one that could detect even a minute display of poor customer service. To my dismay, the lady at reception seemed to be waiting on me to greet her as I approached so I said nothing but looked her firmly in the eye. Eventually, she let out a meagre “do you have an appointment?" After announcing my address to the patrons waiting, I sat down, looked around and decided to make a note in the back of my agenda about the experience I was having. The optometrist himself was decent and even upsold me on eye pictures which I gladly obliged. You see, to me, offering something complimentary to a client is not salesy, it’s enhancing their experience. After all, I didn’t know taking pictures of ones eyeball was a thing and I was glad to have these captured to see how my eyes change over time. Anyway, the staff was not up to par for a professional medical environment. I had my eyes set on two nice frames and planned on ordering a year’s worth of contacts, but nobody cared to assist me as I stared at the well lit shelves of gleaming shiny new frames. On my way out, no-one considered to find out if I needed to fill the prescription that I was newly handed. This step only made sense since most clients’ prescriptions change therefore they need new glasses or contacts after every exam. So I left with 5 crisp $100 bills in my purse and it was then and there The Golden Apron was fashioned. Though I didn’t have the name or exactly what my offering was yet, I couldn’t go one more day watching another business care-less for their customers, unimpressed, never to return. I started researching and realized that this was an a real problem. North American businesses lose billions not millions due to poor customer service and the number increases every year! Why wasn’t someone doing something about this? My business idols John Dijulius and Shep Hyken preach and promote great customer experiences and if companies took even a few notes from them, it would be a game-changer for their business. Don’t trust me? I’ve dropped some nuggets below to challenge your beliefs on just how willing customers are to spend for a little care, convenience and a frictionless transaction.
Now I care for my clients in a unique way, they are all different so I offer a range of strategies and applications to help maximize the experience their clients receive. My hope is for a much higher chance of referrals which leads to increased revenues and scalability, after all, that’s how top companies grow long term. I firmly believe that customers are willing to pay way more for kindness, and an attempt to really please them, just read what the guests who stay at the Ritz Carlton write in their online reviews.
Today, I carry all my service know-how coupled with corporate experience using technology to automate and simplify tasks. I aspire to help service-based companies really take their customer service to the next next next level.
Ready to create your own experience revolution? Let do this!