Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic I haven’t eaten inside a restaurant in four months. This past weekend my dreams were full of my favorite dishes from my favorite restaurants in my favorite parts of the world.
Then an intruder popped in, an experience in a fairly chi chi restaurant in Chicago that dropped the ball on service. Right now I’d take just about any kind of service as long as it’s masked and COVID-free, but seriously here’s my memory of that negative experience and what it has to do with you and your legal nurse consulting business.
Tom and I were in a bit of a hurry when we arrived at the restaurant, as we had an arts performance to attend. We were seated for what seemed like forever when the waiter finally showed up and asked us what we wanted to drink. We had reviewed the menu (posted in the window) while waiting in line, and since we were short on time, we ordered our appetizers before he’d even brought the menus.
The waiter seemed put off by this. He came back with our two glasses of healthy red wine and proceeded to tell us about the menu. “Chef Brutus recommends…shared appetizers for the table, followed by distressed green salads, overly large entrees, coffee, desserts to share and mignardes just when you think you’ve had enough.” He had his script down and launched into it as if he’d never seen us before. It seemed he’d forgotten that we’d already ordered appetizers!
I politely interrupted him to remind him that we’d already ordered appetizers and I wanted to learn the daily specials (instead of how Chef Brutus recommended we maximize our dining experience as well as our check). That seemed to jog his memory somewhat, but he skipped over the specials, a little disconcerted by our preempting him, and told us he’d be right back with our starters.
As in most restaurants, the tables were close enough that you could eat off the plate of the person next to you and I heard the woman at the next table say she “would have loved the fried soft-shell crabs, but fried foods are sooo bad for you.” My ears were on it and I was all in. Being from New Orleans, the idea of sentencing a soft-shell crab or two to a quick, cornmeal-battered, deep-fat-fried death doesn’t bother me a bit.
I wondered why our waiter hadn’t mentioned the crab, or any specials, and then I realized – it was because he couldn’t handle the script change. It had disconcerted him so much that he launched straight into let-me-get-your-starters mode forgetting to tell us about the specials. I asked the waiter about the soft-shell crab special when he returned to the table and he denied that they were offering such a dish. My guess was that he’d already put in our dinner order and was unwilling to retract it from the computer (plus I’m sure Chef Brutus was already personally mashing my potatoes).
Throughout dinner, this waiter’s service was less than stellar. Have you ever wanted to say to a waiter/waitress – “If you were in my ICU, ED, etc., and I gave you the same service you’re giving me, you’d end up in the perpetual care unit (a.k.a., “MetalSlab Ice Cold”), giving me the cold-stare, not the cold-face.” Well that’s exactly how I felt.
Needless to say when the bill came around, I was not into tipping-you-for-a-bad-job-at-dinner mode, but against my better judgment I left a slightly larger tip than I wanted to for the sake of the busboy who’d delivered great service.
In contrast, we dined in another Chicago restaurant the next night and the waiter was all over us. I asked him if they had unsweetened tea and he said, “No ma’am. But I’ll make you some if you’d like.” Simple requests for additional salad dressing were met with equal grace and he continued to score points throughout the meal. By the time the bill came I was pumping rounds into the tip gun.
As a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant are you sticking to your script instead of listening to, or anticipating your attorney-client’s needs? Still reciting your list of 30 CLNC® services or focusing on the one or two that put a sparkle in the attorney’s eyes? Are you reactive or proactive with your attorney-clients? Do you wait for them to ask for an additional CLNC service or do you volunteer ways you can improve your work product? Ask yourself, if you were the attorney-client, how much would you tip yourself as a legal nurse consultant? Does your service rate a 10%, 15% or 25+% tip? What level of service do you provide? If you were a restaurant, would you be 5-Star or 1-Rotten Tomato?
Certified Legal Nurse Consultants practice in a service-oriented industry. If you’re not providing 5-star service (even to a 1-star attorney-client) you’re letting yourself, your CLNC business and the legal nurse consulting profession down. It’s our duty to give the best – in everything that we do. Next time you reach out to your attorney-clients, think about your most fantastic dining experience and try to provide a level of service that the attorney will remember and tell other attorneys about.
Hope to see you soon at my favorite restaurants. I’ll buy you a drink.
Success Is Yours,
Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD
P.S. Go ahead; share your worst attorney-client customer service faux-pas or your best/worst restaurant dining experience.