I knew becoming a parent would change many aspects of my life. There would be late, sleepless nights and discovering old joys through new eyes, but I never thought that I would personally be treated differently. What parent hasn’t experienced the heavy sigh from a flight attendant when they boarded a plane with their child or seen restaurant staff roll their eyes when you sit at a table with your crew? Families deserve good customer service too.
Sure, I get that we’ve all had to deal with disruptive kids. No one knows better than a parent. I’m tired of shop owners, hotel staff and businesses assuming the worst of you just because you have kids under foot. I could be your greatest customer and advocate if you only remembered one small thing.
You would think I was asking for free clothes for a year or to have you babysit my kids over the weekend. You’ll find receiving great customer service will earn you more than a loyal customer and it’s easier than you think.
Remember the Kids
If I was at a restaurant and the wait staff focused on my husband, I would be a little incensed but focus on my children and I’m your new best friend. So often I find people don’t want to or know how to deal with kids so they ignore them. But we’ve raised our kids to understand that they are just as valuable and important as us, their parents. When a business makes a concerted effort to recognize and engage my kids, I notice. This was the case when staying at the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach. The staff at the hotel’s onsite restaurant, Zimzala, was amazing, talking to our kids about surfing and skateboarding, getting down to their level and commenting about what they liked best about their meal. You could see the pride on the faces of my kids which in turn made me happy. The effort was minimum but it was enough to create a desire to make a return visit to the hotel and restaurant, all from one person.
Go Beyond Expectations
Courtesy and politeness are expected if you work in a service industry but when staff makes an extra effort to help you out, that stands out in your mind. That was the case when staying at the Delta Hotel in downtown Montreal with the family. With three young kids we opted for room service most mornings and we had the same gentleman bring our order everyday. On the last morning we were driving back home so this time our room service attendant brought a little “to go” bag for each of the kids to take in the car. It wasn’t much, a little cracker pack and a juice box, but it was completely unexpected and so thoughtful. Not only did we give him a nice tip on leaving, we made sure to connect with the hotel manager to express our gratitude over the personal service our kids were shown. We have stayed at this hotel many times when returning to Montreal.
Add Some Familiarity
You know that feeling you get when you enter a friend’s home, that warm, welcoming familiarity? It’s a nice feeling isn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to feel that way everywhere they went? But sadly many people view customers as just a task to complete – get them in, get them out. On a recent visit to the Windsor Arms Hotel Spa, a place I had never been and felt a little out of place due to its old world charm, I found that familiarity. The staff manager was open, warm, and welcoming, as if I had been a guest of the spa for years. I was so put at ease with her conversation that my 45-minute visit turned into an hour and a half and I’m already planning a return visit with my oldest daughter.
In the midst of getting more customers through the door or more dollars in the till, the act of simple customer service seems to has been lost, especially where families are concerned. It’s not hard to make a little effort to make us and our kids feel welcomed or maybe offer more than expected. The businesses and people that keep me and my family happy earn me as a loyal customer but also a brand advocate. There are stores, restaurants and hotels that I go to first because of these positive customer service experiences. It’s brands like TELUS that has kept me as a customer since my first phone days. They know the importance of keeping me happy, helping me figure out the best phone for my oldest daughter, letting me know about a phone plan that will save me a few dollars but still deliver my communication needs, even helping me get my phone and computer to communicate to one another. When you receive that kind of service you don’t feel the need to look elsewhere and you tell everyone about your positive experience.
So for those businesses that discount me because of my kids, you’re missing out on a great opportunity and it’s so easy to fix. It’s a relationship we can work on together and everyone will be happier for it.
As a TELUS advocate and member of Team TELUS I’ll be sharing similar posts like this but as always the thoughts and opinions are my own.