This is the second of my posts looking into what good customer service is, how it feels and the benefits it brings (both from the perspective of a customer and from that of a business person too). You can read the previous post here.
On our last day on holiday in New Zealand earlier this year, we took the ferry over from Auckland to Waiheke Island. The island is well known for its vibrant creative scene, for its delicious local produce, and for the very dedicated community of winegrowers based there.
We decided to go to a wine tasting and after asking a few locals for advice, we ended up in the beautiful Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant. Set high up on the island, with the most incredible views, we enjoyed a leisurely tasting of some of the wines produced and sold by the vineyard.
Our host was extremely informative, very knowledgeable about the different wines that they produced (and about wines in general), and obviously took great pride in the different wines he was pouring for us.
We had been planning on staying for dinner at Mudbrick, having heard a number of people recommend it, but the restaurant was closing for a wedding that evening. So we left after our wine tasting – and just as the first guests were starting to arrive. We walked back through the beautiful vineyards and along the dusty road, back down towards Oneroa, as more and more guests passed us in the opposite direction.
I had loved my experience so much, and the whole atmosphere at Mudbrick, that I dropped them a line after we got back to Scotland to ask them about their philosophy, and this is what Imogen of their sales and marketing department wrote:
‘For all of us at Mudbrick good customer service is about clear communication, consistency, understanding of the product and education of our guests; a desire to help and enjoyment in helping guests have a great experience, but above all listening to them and understanding their needs and wants.’
We take a pride in our community, our business and the products we create. We want to be able to showcase all of these elements but without the pretence and arrogance often associated with fine-dining establishments.
Like all businesses, we have great days and not so good days but with every encounter whether it be with guests or suppliers we endeavour to be helpful, clear, concise and take all feedback into serious consideration.
We appreciate people’s time and that there are many other choices for our guests out there – in Auckland and on the Island, a choice which you can never take for granted so when guests arrive we like to make them feel special and show our appreciation for the time and support they have given to our business. We think, if you appreciate each guests’ personal time and interest in your business it really shows, through repeat business and reviews. After all, nothing is as great for a business, as personal references and viral marketing.
Any business will do well if they put time and effort into creating not only a fantastic, high-quality product but also a great sales and customer service team. Or in our case, bookings team and floor staff.’
I asked Imogen what were the aspects of good customer service that she enjoys the most, both as a business person and from the perspective of a customer. She told me:
‘…a warm welcome, a smile is a must, knowledge, a touch of humour, manners of course and calm, cool, collected personalities that are decisive when action needs to be taken and, again, an appreciation for giving and receiving business. There is nothing worse than a supplier or waitperson who has an attitude and comes across like they don’t want to be at work let alone give a damn about your business, don’t listen to you and have no desire to help you. It is the most frustrating thing.
We really do try to work with our staff to guide them through processes of good customer service and teach them that not only is it the key to praise from customers, continued business (and great tips) but also great practise for ones’ personal life as well. The same principles I have mentioned above can easily be applied to personal interactions and really do help you to live a calm, successful life.’
What truly inspiring words to live by. Imogen sums so eloquently what good customer service is all about, and also everything that I loved about New Zealand: how very welcoming everyone was – which I noticed from the first moment that I stepped onto the Air New Zealand flight to take me from Hong Kong to Auckland, and which remained so throughout our whole holiday; and the enormous, at many times unspoken, common sense of pride in the natural beauty of their own country and what is has to offer.
And do visit Mudbrick if you’re over in New Zealand – I’m sure you’ll love it as much as we did!
You can read the first post in this series here.