Woman Bites Fish

Now that I have your attention, you can read a story of great customer service at Rubio’s, a Baja California-style Mexican chain found in western states. Their signature offering is an authentic fish taco, which sounds questionable until you try one and then you’re hooked. They made a good first impression on me, and as a result, they are the only fast-food restaurant I frequent. Yes, I’ve had a few so-so moments, but overall, I’ve been pleased with the food, service, price, atmosphere, cleanliness, etc., to keep coming back.

As a member of their birthday club, I received an e-mail coupon for a free meal valued up to $7.00. Most restaurants give you a few days latitude around your actual birthday, meaning you only have time for one or two meals out. Chances are you will bring at least one paying companion to dine with you, making Rubio’s two-week time period a smart marketing decision. Unfortunately, instead of the coupon, my printer spit out a solid black square; the saving grace being you could read my name and expiration date.

I wrote $7.00 on it to remind myself of the value and took it to a location in Vista, where Nikkee, a manager, didn’t question the coupon. She was pleasant and helpful. I selected the Salsa Verde Shrimp Tacos, a dish I hadn’t tried before, and enjoyed it very much.

As I ate, two senior ladies claimed the table next to me and one spilled chopped scallions on her chair before she could sit down. In seconds, a fellow at another table jumped up and replaced her chair, while Mike, a manager, cleaned up the mess. How thoughtful and fast! Seeing this added to my dining experience.

Later, Adalina, an attendant, asked the ladies if they needed anything and one wanted another fish taco. The restaurant is self-serve, but Adalina placed the order and brought it to her. She explained to me that this is policy – a good one, and I complimented Mike on good staff training.

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Repeat customers are part of a successful business, but getting them to be promoters is a driving force. Keep doing the right thing, build trust, and you’ve got a customer for life, one who provides word-of-mouth advertising at no charge. A so-so experience tossed into the mix won’t be a deal breaker. Blow it big time just once, and you’ll never see that customer again. Great experiences like the one I had at lunch make me a promoter.

Author/speaker Janet F. Williams is a high-end sales professional, sales trainer and coach for personal and professional development. She speaks on topics contained in her award-winning book “You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get” to businesses, networking groups, non-profits, book clubs and more. For more information or to buy the book, please visit: www.JanetFWilliams.com and www.GoodDayMedia.com.

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