How to give authentic customer service should be at the heart of all customer engagement, but in more premium services, is there an even greater expectation that this should happen?

The Ivy is one of those aspirational restaurant chains that everyone is encouraged to try, at least once. We all tend to do it, become swept along by peer hype and most of the time this form of advocacy helps us form sound and reliable pre-opinions of what to expect in terms of both product and service.

So here we are, enjoying the hustle and bustle of a Saturday night in The Ivy. The food was excellent. A good choice, even for us vegetarians, well prepared and steady flow of service, so all appears well and in line with a reasonably expensive restaurant.

Throughout the evening we are attended to by one main server and two others who support her in between. Her style is casual and energetic, to the point of chatty and personal. As she consistently does this through the evening it appears in line with the restaurant’s busy style. At the end of the evening when presenting the bill our server asks what we are up to for the rest of the evening. It all feels very personal to us and that she really does care.

After paying we linger awhile to make the most of the visit and I notice that our server is now rolling out the very same script to the table next to us… robotic, appearing personal but clearly crafted, scripted and a routine. Did she really care about serving us as much as was implied? Her script was convincing although now I know it to be just that, a script, rather than, I would argue, authentic customer service.

So what do you think? Is this how to give authentic customer service? A consistent, scripted and reliable engagement? Or is it preferable to really treat each and every customer as an individual and take the time to truly and authentically engage? Can you afford to do this with each and every customer? I would argue that today, in this ever competitive world, can you afford not to?

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