Kevin Durant Is Long Gone From OKC, But the Fantastic Dining Experience at His Former Restuarunt Lingers In My Mind.

The name is what drew people to the restaurant. Kd’s Southern Cuisine is the former restaurant that Kevin Durant owned in OKC when he played for the Thunder. The name, more specifically, the owner is the sole reason I chose to dine at Kd’s.

Kd’s looked like an unpretentious café in a new development, but it was actually a fine restaurant flawlessly delivering southern cuisine, ambiance and a jaw-dropping customer experience.

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So here’s my experience at what was once Kd’s. Once seated, the hostess handed us menus bound in leather. The leather on the menu casing was robust, worn and beautiful, like a pair of beloved cowboy boots.

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And when I opened the menu, it lit up like a Christmas tree. Lighted menus! What a novel idea. This is especially helpful to those of us who are ready for readers or those who have left them behind. It was as easy to read the menu as it is for me to read a book on my Kindle in a completely dark room. Kd’s had me at lighted menus.

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The food was exquisite. We started with Fried Green Tomatoes as the appetizer. The fried tomatoes were topped with a housemaid remoulade and laid on a bed of cucumber salad. It was delicious and a complete joy to eat. I was disappointed that I had to share it.

I chose the Arugula salad with a side of braised greens for my entree. The salad, oh, the salad! Bite after bite it blessed my palate with roasted beets, pine nuts, goat cheese and apple vinaigrette dressing. The colors, texture, and flavors were like a well-rehearsed symphony. Perfect.

And the greens…mustard and turnip greens with onion and garlic. When I looked at the little bowl of greens and took in the aroma, I drifted to my mother’s kitchen, and I was standing over a big pot of greens on a holiday. The greens were “slap your mama” good.

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The bar area in the former Kd’s Southern Cuisine restaurant in Bricktown, Oklahoma City.

As fantastic as the food was, and it really was terrific, that wasn’t even the biggest wow for me. The service experience was the big wow for me. Four things stand out from my dining experience at Kd’s.

1. Success is in the details. As a Customer Experience Designer, I notice the details. The lit menu was a detail that told me Kd’s cared about presentation and that ease of reading menus was a focus.

2. Polished and professional people working as a team. Another detail was the team approach to the customer experience. A poised, confident gentleman walked about the restaurant topping off drinks. His presence was so commanding that I initially thought he was a manager. He was watchful and attentive, serving the entire restaurant. Each time he stopped by our table to refill water or tea, he took a few seconds to make small talk. He showed genuine interest in us, and he was charismatic, and a joy to speak with.

3. Everybody served everybody. Our server was great. He spoke with grace, made eye contact and had a pleasant “at your service” attitude throughout our dining experience. He was perfect and needed no assistance from his team to take care of us. And yet, several other servers stopped by our table to check on things and to say hello. It seemed that everyone’s job was to make sure everyone had a great dining experience.

4. Employees sought out guest contact. I noticed an employee entering the restaurant to start her shift. I noticed her because as she walked through the restaurant, she looked in our direction, made friendly eye contact, smiled and said hello. Her eye contact and smile gave me a real sense of connection with her.

She then went to the employee area, put on an apron and re-appeared to serve customers. She stopped by our table just to check to see how we were enjoying our meal. How easy it would have been for her to just walk by and report to her station. But instead, she stopped to say hello, and that was delightful.

Kd’s very clearly had a traditional culture of teamwork. All employees speak and make small talk with guests. All libations are taken care of by one capable server. All servers serve all customers, not just guests at their tables.

Takeaway: How might you adopt a team approach to your customer experience?

Use my experience at Kd’s to spark discussions on your own customer experience. Here are 2 questions to get you started.

  1. How might we adopt a culture of teamwork where everybody is trained to help everyone? How might this speed up, improve or change our customer experience?
  2. What if our employees sought out customer contact (make eye contact, say hello, offer to help) instead of merely focusing on their jobs?

The name, Kevin Durant, drew me in. But it was the stunning team approach to the customer experience and the exquisitely prepared food that left me raving about the restaurant.

Myra Golden is a customer experience keynote speaker and trainer who travels North America looking for great stories to share, and new ways to help her clients deliver the best possible customer experience.

Related post:

We all want to feel known: “The Norm Principle of Customer Service.”

Surprise and Delight Your Customers with Technology – Here’s How Chili’s delighted my family with tablets

Chili’s has always been one of our family’s favorite dinner spots. Last night we went to a different Chili’s for dinner. We noticed immediately that each table had a tablet placed on the center. That was different.

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The table tablets featured the entire restaurant menu, games, trivia, USA Today and sports. We thought that was so cool!

IMG_1484We ordered our food from the menu. Kept up with the NBA playoff game on the tablet (and the overhead television), played trivia and we even paid our bill right on the tablet.

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The addition of a simple tablet at each table enhanced our dining experience. In fact, the tablet encouraged everyone to not use their smartphones (a problem we always have when we dine out). The tablet engaged the entire family, especially the trivia games.

Technology used in surprising ways never fails to impress customers. Remember how excited we were when the Apple store first started checking customers out on iPhones?

I challenge you to brainstorm creative ways to implement technology in your business to enhance the customer experience. When you do, you’ll surprise and delight your customers just like Chili’s did for us. 🙂

 

5 Questions You Need to Be Asking About Your Customer Experience

So, this morning I made Rosemary infused olive oil. It’s a very simple process. You put 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh Rosemary into 2 cups of warmed olive oil and then let it sit in a cool dark place for a week. When the week is up, you strain the olive oil to ensure you have no particles of Rosemary left in the oil. After I made the Rosemary infused olive oil, I thought, “How will I get the Rosemary out of this bottle?” And that thought inspired this blog post! This blog post is about “How do we eliminate “bottleneck steps?” and 4 other great questions to help you improve your customer experience. (I suppose I’ll just have to strain my oil through cheesecloth, remove the Rosemary and then pour my Rosemary oil back into this pretty bottle.)

Enjoy my Rosemary olive oil inspired post. 🙂

Here are 5 questions that will get you thinking critically about your current customer experience and the answers will inspire you to fiercely focus on continuous customer experience improvement.

1. What are our bottleneck steps and how to do we get rid of them?

Rosemary infused olive oil

A bottleneck step is a step that slows down or impedes a part of the customer’s process. When I headed up Consumer Affairs at the corporate office for an international car rental company, a bottleneck for us was having to disconnect with a customer to call a franchisee to get the franchisee’s “side of the story” for simple problems. A simple problem could take literally days to resolve with this system. We removed the bottleneck by implementing a policy that said issues that could be resolved for $50 or less would be handled by the Representative and charged back to corporate and not to the franchisee. This allowed us to resolve more than 80% of issues on the first call. Bottlenecks cause delays and result in frustrated customers. Identify your bottlenecks and find ways to eliminate them.

2. Why aren’t we picking our low hanging fruit?

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Last year I wrote a blog post about my ridiculous experience at a tag agency. The agency had a 5-step process for simple vehicle tag renewals. The multi-step process caused long lines and frustrated, if not upset, customers. As I stood in the tag agency for more than 45 minutes, I literally created a service map of how I’d improve their processes for a better customer experience. (See it here.) Interestingly, all the agency needed to do was pick some low hanging fruit.

Low hanging fruit is simply something that can be obtained with very little effort. The tag agency could easily and smartly combine their 5-step process into one step to decrease wait time by at least 60%. Low hanging fruit simply requires that we stand back and observe our customer experience from the customer’s perspective. Then, we immediately go out and pick that low hanging fruit for a much sweeter customer experience.

3. How can we make the service experience easier, smoother, faster, or better?

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I’m working right now with a client who is trying to create the best possible customer experience for her clients. During a conference call with my client one morning, I thought about the “That Was Easy” campaign from Staples. I told my client that we need to step back and ask ourselves, what do we need to do differently, better, faster, smoother or more refreshingly, so that your customers hang up thinking, “that was easy!” What do you need to do differently, better, faster, smoother or more refreshingly, so that your customers hang up thinking, “that was easy!”?

4. How might we use QR codes to improve the customer experience?

QR Codes for Customer Experience

During a business trip, I saw this sign in a restroom in the Phoenix Airport.  The Phoenix airport is using QR Codes to get customers to let them know if restrooms are in need of service. It’s not uncommon to see a sign in a public restroom that asks customers to let a member of the staff know if restrooms need attention, but how many customers really do that? Not many.

The Phoenix airport makes it easy for customers to give feedback. All a customer would have to do is hold up their phone and scan the QR Code to let the staff know attention is needed.

How might you use QR Codes to make your customer experience easier for customers? Could a QR Code be used to pull up FAQ? Perhaps to let an employee know a customer needs assistance on aisle 33? QR Codes aren’t just for ads or promotions. Think out of the box to find ways you might use QR Codes to surprise and delight your customers.

5. What can we learn about the customer experience from other companies?

Apple store field trip

A few months ago I took a team from one of my client’s branches on a field trip to the Apple store and Barnes and Noble. Before the fieldtrip, I gave the team a list of questions and observation points so that we’d make the most productive use of our time.

At the Apple store, my team observed greeting upon store entrance, analyzed employee interactions and even got to see an Apple employee eloquently handle a not so happy customer. After the fieldtrip, we met in a circle in the mall and discussed our observations and explored ways they can take back some great ideas and adopt and apply them in their organization.

We left Apple and headed across the street to Barnes and Noble for part 2 of our field trip. My team really walked away with a lot of customer service insights from both Apple and Barnes and Noble.

Consider taking a field trip to an organization that is known for delivering an amazing customer experience. The company doesn’t need to be in your industry. I’ve taken clients on field trips to Starbucks, local shops famous for service, and to restaurants.

The bottom line: Sit down with your team and ask these 5 questions. Taking action on even one of these questions can have a dramatic impact on your customer experience.

Related:

What I’d Tell the Tag Agency Owner If He Asked Me for Advice on His Customer Service

If you’re interested, here’s where I got the recipe for my Rosemary infused olive oil.

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I took my client on a field trip to the Apple store today – Customer Experience Design Strategy

Barnes and Noble Field Trip 2

This morning I took a team from one of my client’s branches on a field trip. We’re working to create the best possible customer experience in my client’s organization and I believe one way to achieve this goal is to learn from the best. So, I got everyone out of the office and we went to the Apple store and Barnes and Noble.

Before the fieldtrip, I gave the team a list of questions and observation points so that we’d make the most productive use of our time. At the Apple store, my team observed greeting upon store entrance, analyzed employee interactions and even got to see an Apple employee eloquently handle a not so happy customer. After the fieldtrip, we met in a circle in the mall and discussed our observations and explored ways they can take back some great ideas and adopt and apply them in their organization.

Apple store field trip

We left Apple and headed across the street to Barnes and Noble. The people at Barnes and Noble were so gracious and allowed us to explore, take up a lot of space, meet to discuss our observations and they even let us take photos. My team really walked away with a lot of customer service insights from Barnes and Noble.

Barnes and Noble Field trip

I love what I do! It’s great to make customer experience training and consulting hands-on, relevant and even fun.

Related articles

What a Myra Golden Training is Like

Ways I Engage My Audiences

How to Get Customer Service Reps to Express Empathy

Are you a corporate trainer who is looking for customer service training to deliver to your team?

This may be the most creative web error page I have ever seen!

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Every website will experience server errors from time to time. Flickr.com found a creative way to announce their error with this image. A great and interesting photograph with a message is just perfect for a photo-sharing website. The image is so intriguing and the message so fun, that it’s hard for users to feel frustrated or impatient with the problem.

How might you make your customers’ experience a little more unique by customizing your website error pages? Here’s how we do it at MyraGolden.com.

See also:

Why Not Brand Your 404 Error Page?

6 Things We Can Learn About the Chat Customer Experience from Amazon.com

Yesterday I had to reach out to Amazon.com for customer support for my daughter’s Kindle Fire. I chose Chat for my help, and I’m so glad I did because I received refreshingly excellent service that made me say, “Now that’s Beyond WOW!”

Amazon.com Chat

Click the image to see my chat conversation

6 things  impressed me and made me say “WOW!” 

1. It was a holiday (Memorial Day), and the Chat representatives were working. 

This was super convenient for me as a consumer on my day off. Continue reading “6 Things We Can Learn About the Chat Customer Experience from Amazon.com”