One night, during my recent trip to New Orleans, I stepped to Mr. B’s Bistro for dinner. A client had taken me there for lunch, several years ago, and I was eager to go back. A friend and I stepped to the table at about 7:30 PM and we were quickly greeted by our server, Stephen, and his assistant, Claire.
After scanning the menu, we decided to share the fried green tomatoes with crawfish tails appetizer and a bowl of the seafood gumbo. [I would go back to Mr. B’s for that, alone!] For our entrées, I chose the grilled redfish and my companion chose the Mr. B‘s specialty, barbecued shrimp.
“Where are you from?”, asked Stephen. When he learned we were from Boston, he said, “Do you understand that the barbecued shrimp comes in the shell in the barbecue sauce and you need to peel the shrimp in order to eat it?” We assured him that we understood and thanked him for his extra caution.
And that is where Claire kicked in. As she passed our table she asked, “You ordered the barbecued shrimp?” My companion affirmed, she had. “You’re going to love that,” said Claire. And a few moments later she appeared at the table with a bib to tie around my companion’s neck. “You’re going to love the barbecued shrimp,” she said, “Let’s put this on so you don’t mess up your clothes, we’re going to be real careful.”
When the barbecued shrimp arrived, they were not a disappointment! Each shrimp was somewhere between 4 inches and 5 inches long, cooked in the shell. Quoting Mr. B’s: “Here in New Orleans, barbecued shrimp means sautéed shrimp in Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce….The three sticks of butter called for in the recipe are enough to scare you into cholesterol shock and they are the key to the flavor and consistency of the sauce.”
Just after the shrimp arrived at the table, Claire appeared, big smile on her face, and asked, “Are you ready?“
Ready we were. Several more times during the meal, Claire appeared at the table to check on our progress, commenting on how well we were peeling shrimp, saying, “Mmmm, aren’t those good?“ and “Didn’t I tell you that you would enjoy those?” All with a great big smile.
When the shrimp were gone, we asked Claire for extra bread so we could soak up every last drop of the sauce. The plate was completely dry and clean when we’d finished. No bread left over. Big smile on Claire’s face – “You did good!”
I’m sure that the barbecued shrimp would have tasted every bit as good had Claire not appeared at our table. However, our EXPERIENCE of the meal, our enjoyment of our dinner, was dramatically higher because Claire encouraged us every step of the way, enjoying our experience and celebrating our successes as we navigated the shrimp and the sauce.
And, even though we were pleasantly full, we answered, with no hesitation, “yes,” to dessert.
Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees through better sales strategies and execution. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.
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