According to CBS Sunday Morning, Antoine’s Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans does things differently. Most restaurants you go to you will be assigned a table and the server in that section will wait on you. Antoine’s uses a very personal touch. From the first time you go to that restaurant you will be assigned a waiter. That person will then be your server every time you come back to Antoine’s. Some servers have spent the most significant occasions with their customers and are almost seen as members of the family.
The personal touch makes a difference. People notice it. They come back to the places they feel special. I’ve seen it in action when I have had to deal with AT&T customer service. Though they’re a huge corporation, they like to make it look like they really care about their individual customers. So they train their customer service personnel to go over the top with friendliness and service.
In this day and age of technology I think we all long for a little more of a personal touch. Technology keeps us at arms length, or at the very least, viewing each other on a screen.When we get the sense that people know us we are drawn in. We want to come back. Our senses are heightened and our emotions are charged.
Here are three reasons a personal touch makes a big difference:
- People like to be noticed. This world has become so impersonal. We live in a land of big corporations and distant technology. When we are seen as individuals in this impersonal society we take notice. As I shopped for a suit for our son’s wedding the clerk asked for my first name. I know it was a sales technique, but the way he naturally used it in conversation was appreciated.
- People like to be known. My wife has a particular “happy place” where we often find ourselves on Friday evenings. It’s a place on a corner in beautiful Winter Park, Florida, with outdoor seating at an outdoor bar. We’ve been there for dinner so often that one of the bartenders has become a friend. He knows us by name. We have learned his story. He comes from a poor family in Columbia and has made his way very successfully in this country. We love to chat with him as we eat our dinner. We go back there not just for the food and the setting, but because we are known well.
- People like to think they have an edge. When you are noticed and known you feel like you have an edge over other people. There’s something about human nature that really likes that. We want to have an edge. We like to know that we are important. Not too long ago one of my favorite authors was completing one of his books. He reached out to me and asked if I’d like to read his pre-published book and provide some feedback. I was, of course, happy to do so. I felt special. And still bought a book when it was published.
How can you offer some kind of personal touch in your work or life today? It will make a difference.