For Innovative Service, Avoid the Buffet

buffetI have a confession…I almost always go for the “off the beaten path” choices.  Tried and true is typically trumped by “I’ve never had it before.”  So you can imagine my reception when the waiter seated us and handed us the breakfast menu with the announcement: “The buffet is a much better value than à la carte.”  But when he saw my nonplussed reaction he added, “but none of the local flavors are on the buffet.”

So, what did his announcement mean?  He meant that great food could be found on their standard buffet—eggs (any style), bacon, sausage, pancakes, toast, pastries, fruit, yogurt and cereal—everything you would want for a completely forgettable breakfast.  And, the local flavors?  This restaurant was on South Miami Beach so it included Eggs Benedict Cubano, Caribbean French Toast and Grilled Churrasco with hearth-fried eggs.  Not exactly your everyday items!

Innovative service is unexpected, off the beaten path service.  It delights because it is unique, not just great.  It creates a story because it touches customers in ways “eggs and bacon” service can never do.  But, just like “going with the local flavors” takes a willingness to be bold and daring, the return can be well worth the road less taken.  Sometimes innovative service fails to please.  And, there are customers who only want their service breakfast with “hash browns or grits.”

Walk on the wild side with your customers.  Instead of recommending the predictable service buffet, deliver an experience more like ice-cold carrot juice with fresh ginger root!  Take your customer on an adventure and they will return and bring you back their loyalty.

Photo Credit: Flickr via Matt Hintsa

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Dr. Chip R. Bell is a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and innovative service. Global Gurus ranked him in 2018 the #2 keynote speaker in the world on customer service; #1 in North America. He also is the author of numerous national and international best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Magnetic Service, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and Customers as Partners. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

His newest customer service book is the award-winning, best-selling book Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.

Dr. Bell has appeared live on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, NPR Marketplace and his work has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company.


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