Remember the bar on the TV show ‘Cheers‘ where everyone knew your name? It was a warm, inviting place where the regulars shuffled in, plopped down on bar stools and regaled one another with the day’s events. Woody, Coach, Sam and the others knew the customers’ names and life stories, and seemingly picked up on conversations from weeks earlier in mid-sentence. It was a good and funny show and, in its own way, indicative of how great customer service can enhance a brand’s name and reputation.
Now, fast forward to the present and the Lincroft Inn, which is literally right down the street from me and where my wife and I have been dining at the bar/restaurant for years. When we walk in, we always say, ‘Hey Virgil, Hi Micki, Hi Rhonda, etc.’ We even have our own nickname for the manager, a somber looking matron we call ‘the stern taskmaster.’
Anyway, in nine years of frequenting the Inn, do you think any of the employees have even once said, ‘Hey Steve, Hey Angie: How are Chris and Catharine doing?’ or ‘Sorry to hear about Pepper. What a bummer. Drinks are on us tonight,’ or even ‘Hey Steve: a Grgich Hills chard?’ But, nada. Nothing.
We once mentioned this phenomenon to a new bartender who, upon hearing our cheerless ‘Cheers’ tale, swore he would remember our names each and every time we returned. He didn’t.
If the place wasn’t so conveniently located, we’d have stopped going long ago because well, nobody knows our names. It’s a small detail to be sure. But, the best organizations, the best executives and, certainly the best politicians (Clinton was an absolute whiz at this) remember people’s names.
Maybe the next time I drop in on the Inn, I’ll give the lead bartender a boxed dvd set of ‘Cheers.’ Wonder if he’ll get the message?