Lessons on earning that 20% tip.

By Luke Sklar and Amber Hudson

Inspired by Gloria’s blog about great service in restaurants we got to talking about how a server is an analogy for great brands.  Stay with me…let’s for a moment think of brands as waiters (or waitresses, no gender biasing goin’ on ‘round here):  they meet the needs of their customers by making them feel completely satisfied, almost joyful and absolutely wanting to come back.

Mediocre waiters get the obligatory 15% tip that us polite Canadians are programed to pay.  But great waiters, well those are the ones we are happily willing to pay a 20% tip and then go out and tell our friends all about it.

So what’s the difference between a great waiter and a mediocre one?

Great waiters treat you like a human being and not merely a means to pay their monthly rent.  They anticipate your needs, ask great questions, don’t make you repeat your order and have a thoughtful POV on the food they will be serving.  Plus they make the experience fun, cracking a well-timed joke now and then.

Some mediocre waiters might acknowledge your existence if you’re lucky.  Sure they’ll get you the food you ordered, but you end up feeling like they are just passing the time until their next acting gig.  Others cross into the land of the overly familiar.  They quickly try to create a bond based on too many personal questions, irrelevant chatter and sharing of their own unsolicited problems.  Not sure which is worse…

It’s a tough job being a waiter.  Your living relies on your loyal customers.  But for a great waiter, it’s the small things, the attention to detail and the overarching enthusiasm for their craft that builds that loyalty.  So as a brand marketer, what can you do to your customers to make them feel like they want to give you that 20% tip?