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  Service Stars

The waiter who practiced service recovery after getting off to a bad start

Satisfactory customer service is seldom memorable. What is memorable is poor service and service that goes the extra mile. Sometimes it only takes a small gesture to change a routine customer service experience into one we will recall months later, we will tell others about and will cause us to become repeat customers. Those who do those little extras are truly Service Stars.

Reader Dianne Batstone provides evidence that negative first impressions can be overcome, but it takes a great deal of effort.

Dianne, her husband and another couple had made reservations to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Sorrentino’s Bistro in downtown Edmonton. The restaurant was busy when they arrived, but they were soon seated. Service was not as quick. Dianne estimates that it took 20 minutes before the waiter approached their table to offer them menus and take their drink orders.

“Our first impression was not that great,” she recalls. But things began to turn around when the waiter finally arrived. “It was his little extras. The way he greeted us. He was very friendly. He joked with us.”

Dianne had noticed that Sorrentino’s supported a residential facility for women from out of town who were in Edmonton for breast cancer treatment. She asked the waiter about it. “He was very knowledgeable about this project.”

When the waiter recognized that the party was from out of town, he suggested several nearby entertainment spots they might visit following their meal. As he thanked the group for dining at Sorrentino’s and escorted them to the door, he offered them his business card and invited them to return.

Dianne predicts they will dine at Sorrentino’s in the future. “You forget the initial wait because of the extra attention,” she says.


Nelson Scott offers several Customer Service Presentations, including Customer Service MAGIC: Changing Complainers into Loyal Customers; What Your Mother Taught You About Customer Service and other Training Resources developed by Service Quality Institute and the Vital Learning Corporation.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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