Last week my wife and I decided to go to my favorite restaurant for dinner. It's my favorite restaurant not only because I like the food, but because the staff that works there has always been friendly and taken care of me like I'm someone special. I'm sure they do that for a lot of people but I like going to a place where they recognize me and treat me like a long lost friend.

Rita serving pizza
Creative Commons License Eddy Van 3000 via Compfight

On this particular visit we had someone taking care of us who didn't know me. She also didn't have much of a personality, and that lessened the experience for us a degree. Sure, she was efficient in doing her job, but sometimes efficiency isn't enough.

The thing is that when your business is service oriented, you need to put your best foot forward and you just might have to go the extra mile in how you communicate with others. Being friendly helps; showing a bit more enthusiasm helps even more. Customers like feeling special; goodness, we all like feeling special.

In this particular instance I wasn't sure what to do. I know the owners and I knew all the other waitstaff there, but my solutions weren't clear. Should I say something to someone? I really didn't know, so I kept it to myself. This is one of those times where you don't want to overstep your bounds, but at the same time you want to take care of someone you like. If I felt this way with how she gave service I know that the other customers probably felt the same thing. I know she spoke to others the same way because I could hear her talking to customers at the other tables around us.

What did I do? I enjoyed my wife's company and then when it was time to pay the bill, I paid the minimum amount towards the tip. I'm a big tipper usually so for me to only pay 15% is rare. In this case she did her job but didn't do anything special, didn't engage with us at all. If I was a new customer I might not go back, even though the food was good.

How would you have handled something like this? Would you write it off to personality differences, or would you warn the owners of the company of a potential failing in their usual great customer service processes?