Klein’s Korner: July 2018 Updates – Due to a strange set of circumstances; I’ve been out to celebrate either my birthday or some of my wife’s friends special days several times in the past couple of weeks. What I’ve noticed in this is something which, as you will, does relate to sports cards and interpersonal relationships.
Recently, we went to Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner for one of my wife’s friends. Without going into the gory details, if you really care I saved my review and you can read it if you email me, let’s just say after some twitter comments, our meal was comped as it should have been in the first place. But I don’t want to get into those details but I want to point out some areas of opportunities (gosh when I was working at Bank of America I despised that term) to ensure no one else has the type of experience we had.
First of all, when I was reading the reviews several things stood out. First, the managing partner (who was probably not there on a Sunday night) takes real ownership of any issues which occur during or after the visit. My only suggestion is he continue to work with the staff to ensure they follow his lead on customer service.
One aspect I noticed, and when I was reading my Sports Collectors Daily articles (see below) on a similar failed customer service experience at a restaurant (which literally closed less than 48 hours after the meal) was we were there as a group for two hours and never once saw a manager, A good policy should be that at least once an hour a manager should check on how things are going.
The second area of opportunity has to do with our group. We had 8-9 people in our group and we were one of three such parties for the evening. I understand why some places don’t do anything more than call-ahead seating, yet if we had been able to make a reservation (and the other groups as well) then Longhorn could have planned to have more staff available to work as they know several large groups are coming. Perhaps notice of groups of 8 or more can be done in advance to ensure everything runs smoothly.
And the third area of opportunity is to improve the email club experience. Currently, the only benefit is a free entrée for joining and nothing for birthdays or coupons included in the emails we receive. Perhaps once a month or so, throw in a coupon and ensure there is a good birthday benefit for being in the club.
After my success with Longhorn, I then decided to go and “chat” with Pie Five on twitter. Amazingly within 10 minutes after I posted on their site my issue was resolved. You see, a couple of years ago they went from a system where you could give a phone number (Pei Wei for example is excellent on that front) and gets points credited to your account. When I went to Pie Five after they changed I was told by the manager it was “App only” and my points were no longer any good. If you really know me, you understand not only am I bit of a dinosaur but also not having a smart phone gives me two hours a day of being off the grid and energizes me before going to work. I usually walk in the morning before heading to work. You can always actually call me during that time.
The reason this took me two years to fix was I had followed their procedures twice and asked for a PHONE CALL to chat with a customer service rep. Needless to say no phone call ever occurred and so I missed their pizza for two years. Some people actually prefer to chat with a live human being.
I will stress the place I’m comparing these two places to is much more expensive but it’s our (my wife and myself) go-to place for anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions. I want to stress The Keg does have a birthday club in one entrée free with the purchase of another entrée which truly helps with the bill.
That all brings me to the end of the trilogy and the anniversary dinner my wife and I had at The Keg. Now if a meal can go perfectly, that one did. When we arrived early for our reservation, the nice hostess asked if we wanted to be seated early or wait. Well, we were there so an easy one to answer. When we made our reservation, they always ask if there is a special occasion involved and we mentioned both my birthday month and our anniversary. The hostess had hand-written cards for me to commemorate both occasions.
Sam our waiter and the rest of the staff took care of our every need. And as we were getting ready to pay the check, the manager comes over and says I hear we hit your anniversary on the day tonight so here’s a piece of their wonderful Billy Miner Pie and this is on me. The manager also noted she recognized us and thanked us for coming in several times a year as we do. Then we mentioned to the manager one of my Beckett teammates son was a bartender the last time we checked and the manager said we all love him here and he’s been here for 10 plus years now. I’ve never worked in a restaurant but let me assure you 10 years at the same location shows how well they treat both their customers and their employees. Now tell me just how good we felt about The Keg after our meal.
What does all this have to do with baseball cards? Well, if you have not guessed, the answer is obvious. We should always make our best efforts to treat every customer as if they were the only customer you have. If you have a store, make sure you greet them and say something just to alert them you saw them. Back in the day when JW was one of the dominant stores in the DFW area I used to drop by about once a month or so and one aspect which always impressed me was John Klassnick greeted everyone who came in the door and if he knew them made sure he said something appropriate to the customer.
A little more recently (I should have had a photo taken) Dean the new owner of Nick’s Cards had my Topps Card hanging in the store. That was really cool to see and I felt very honored. If I had more time I would have purchased more but the store was jammed was customers and I chatted with Jim, the Assistant Store Manager when Nick and Debbie owned Nick’s. Because they were so busy I left quickly but need to go back and spend more time with them. Here’s a photo of Dean at the NHL Draft. Kudos to both Nick’s and Laurence of Triple Cards for setting up at the NHL draft and trying to get the hobby message out to a wider audience.
Rich’s vast experience and knowledge of the hobby has been well documented through the years. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Klein’s Korner. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
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