Customer Service 101 On A Slow May Monday

I stopped in for lunch at Joe Jo‘s Pizza and Gelato Monday in Ephraim. There were only a couple other tables on a typically slow May weekday, and the only employees on the clock were the owners, Dick and Kathy.

Sometimes a slow day like that can be a throw-away for the business owner, where the angst of not making payroll or covering costs can leave you on edge. But Dick and Kathy were bouncing around the dining room like the Visitor Bureau’s dream ambassadors.

A young couple, maybe in their mid-20s, sat a couple booths away from me. They were probably of modest means, coming to Door County on a weekday to save some money. From the sounds of their questions, it was their first time here. With few blossoms, barren trees, and many stores and restaurants still closed, it could be their last. But it won’t be Kathy’s fault.

They got their drinks, and asked Kathy the question many servers are simply tired of answering – “What is there to do around here right now?” Kathy did not give them the flip “not much” that comes easily to some. She extolled the virtues of getting here before the crowds, of having views all to yourself and saving some money. She didn’t oversell, setting the couple up for disappointment. And she didn’t get territorial.

I overheard her recommend another restaurant and some shops in Egg Harbor. She urged them to take the ferry to Washington Island. And gave them a couple scenic ideas. In five minutes, I didn’t once hear her mention the virtues of her own business or knock another.

You may say, “so what?” I say, exactly. My guess is that couple, experiencing Door County for the first time at far less than it’s peak selling time, will be back someday. Some B&B or gallery will have Kathy’s five minutes of unbridled enthusiasm on a dreadfully slow Monday afternoon to thank for it (and they’ll probably swing by Joe Jo’s again to).

– Myles Dannhausen Jr.