The absolute best customer service pros in any business are the ones who have learned how to talk to customers instead of at them.
Matt, an extraordinary waiter at the Texas Land & Cattle restaurant in Frisco, TX, recently gave the best example of this I think I’ve ever seen. We were a large group to begin with, several adults and several kids. Serving a large group is never easy, and Matt seemed to handle the group quite well.
What made Matt special however was how he handled the kids. When he approached the kid end of the table, he did a combination of two things that put him in a class by himself. He made the simple gesture of kneeling to put himself on their level, then he talked to them. He didn’t talk down to them, or treat them like children. He just talked to them like people.
If you’ve ever been around kids, you know that 99% of the time they’re completely shy around strangers, and they rarely want to order their own food. But this time, not one kid at our table asked a parent to order their chicken fingers or mac & cheese. I was truly amazed at how effective Matt was at setting a safe, comfortable moment that allowed the kids to open up and enjoy the experience.