A recent business trip up North was a good excuse to visit the lovely Yorkshire town of Harrogate and when in Rome you have to go to Betty’s for tea or in our case lunch.
It’s a popular destination for both locals and tourists and as such they have a system for managing us customers. In true British style we form an orderly queue outside under the watchful eye of a smartly dressed member of the Betty’s team and when it’s our turn to enter we are asked whether we want to be seated in the Tea Room at the back or the Café at the front. We say Tea Room whereupon we go inside to wait in another smaller queue and whilst waiting we look over to the café area where there are spare tables so we change and go there instead. Happily seated we look at the menu and watch the world go by, as time passes we realise that all the other tables have been served their food and it seemed we were being ignored. We eventually asked a waitress who in a very direct way, (well we are in Yorkshire!) informed us that we have to place our order at the counter, full waitress service was for the Tea Room only and when we said that we weren’t told about this nothing was said. We had not followed the system as we later noticed that the member of staff at the entrance would have told us this if we’d initially asked to be seated in the Café.
As an ex retailer and customer service consultant I understand the need for systems and processes BUT we all need to remember that what’s obvious and ‘routine’ to staff isn’t to customers and we need to keep that level of awareness and customer shoes mindset with us when we are at work.