Lattanzi Ristorante Serves Up Delizioso Service

December 2nd, 2009 by admin Leave a reply »

The other night a client treated me to a wonderful dinner at Lattanzi Ristorante in the Broadway area of Manhattan. He eats there every time he visits New York, which surprised me given that he’s a real bon vivant who enjoys trying new restaurants. I asked him why he was so loyal to Lattanzi, and he had a great answer.

The first time he ate there several years ago, he and a friend had just happened upon the place. They ended up having a great time, as the food, wine, service and ambience were all excellent. The only problem was that when it was time to pay the fairly sizable bill and he gave the waiter his Visa card, he was informed that the restaurant only takes American Express. Since he didn’t have his American Express card or much cash with him, this wonderful night suddenly looked like it was about to have a very embarrassing and inconvenient ending.

Expecting the worst–after all, he was in a city that’s not exactly known for its warm and fuzzy treatment of visitors–my client asked, “What should I do?” The waiter’s reply: “It’s no big deal; just mail us a check when you get home.”

My client was both shocked and relieved. And not only is he now a very loyal customer, he’s told this story to dozens if not hundreds of people over the years. To be sure, Lattanzi Ristorante took a conscious risk that he would forget or neglect to send them that check. But the potential cost associated with that risk is dwarfed by the value of not only the subsequent business he’s given them himself, but the business from new customers who heard of his experience.

What I love best about the story is that the waiter didn’t create a scene by running to the manager to resolve the problem; he simply dealt with the matter quietly and gracefully right on the spot. Whether he was formally empowered to do this by Lattanzi’s management or he just took it upon himself to do the right thing, it’s a refreshing example of smart customer service.

And smart customer service makes for truly fantastico marketing.

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