Everyone has a favorite restaurant and I’m lucky enough to have several, depending upon which city I’m in when I get hungry. Here in Houston, it’s an Italian pizzeria enoteca called Dolce Vita in an old house near downtown. Sunday afternoons, if we’re in town, you can frequently find Tom and me on their shaded patio indulging in the outdoors with a glass of healthy red wine and scrumptious, real Italian food. This is a very casual, feel-good, comfy restaurant completely void of pretensions. But Dolce Vita’s standards are far from casual.
From the moment you pull into the parking lot, the valet welcomes you back and parks your car without giving you a ticket. (Side note: Visitors to Houston are always surprised that most restaurants have a valet to park your car 20 feet from the restaurant’s front door, but once you’ve experienced a Houston summer you instantly know why). Somehow when you go to leave, he clairvoyantly has your car waiting, air-conditioner running.
When you first walk in, the staff greats you effusively and escorts you to your table like you’re an old friend. The food is fresh and inventive. One of my favorites is the unique Truffle Egg Toast which is a thick piece of country bread with an egg inside, covered with parmigiano-reggiano cheese and toasted to perfection under a high-temperature broiler until it’s crispy and brown outside. Then it’s covered with sliced black truffles, drizzled with truffle oil and served on a plate so hot I’m surprised the servers can even carry it to the table. When you first cut into it, the egg yolk runs out onto the plate, mixes with more crispy cheese and begs to be mopped up with the bread. (I’m making myself hungry).
But the real magic of this restaurant is one of the servers, Isabel. There are a couple of servers that recognize us and always stop by to chat, but Isabel is different. She takes total ownership of us from the moment she sees us – whether it’s in the doorway, at our table or waiting at the bar for a table.
By total ownership, I mean exactly that. Even if we’re not seated in her section, she treats us like we’re old friends. Once we’re seated, she’ll stop by to chat and supplements the attentions of the assigned server so we receive double the service. She anticipates every want and need and sometimes I believe she can read our minds. Isabel always has the inside track on what’s good or new on the menu. Best of all, she’s never pushy. If we drop in for a glass of wine and an appetizer, she’s just as happy and attentive as if we bring a bunch of friends and spend a long evening chowing down encouraging each other to “mangia, mangia.”
On our last visit, Tom noticed mussels were part of one of the specials and asked Isabel about his favorite appetizer, mussels in a marina sauce with oven-roasted bread, which wasn’t on the menu. Before we knew it, she’d arranged for the kitchen to prepare that dish for us and delivered it to the table.
In all of the years she’s owned us, Isabel has consistently delivered amazing service. I love the restaurant even when she’s not there, but when she’s working the restaurant feels more like home. In fact when we travel back to Houston, whether it’s from a CLNC® Certification Seminar, business trip, visit with family or vacation, we immediately dump our luggage and head straight to Dolce Vita.
Could you be more like Isabel in your legal nurse consulting business? Do you take total ownership of your attorney-clients as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant? Do you provide the type of service that they’ll rave about to other attorneys? When you’re reviewing a case, do you make recommendations for additional CLNC® services based on the attorney’s expressed likes and needs or do you simply provide the same size bowl of spaghetti and meatballs or worse yet wait for the attorney to tell you what to do and when?
The next time you’re getting ready to talk with one of your attorney-clients, take a moment to think of Isabel and take total ownership. They’ll love it and you’ll most likely be creating a relationship for life.
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share your best strategies for taking total ownership of your attorney-clients.