Balakarthik Venkataramanan
August 17, 2016

ARTICLE: Spicy Noodles, Hot Sauce & Service Excellence


Indo-Chinese cuisine. Over the last two decades, the Indian community across the globe has widelyaccepted this as a popular weekend cuisine. When a group of colleagues from our international offices visited us for a conference, I decided to give them a flavor of the Indo-chinese cuisine at Inchin’s Babmoo Garden, a popular restaurant in Sunnyvale, California.

After an all day conference, the team was not conservative in ordering at all. They were getting everything that flew, ran & swam to our table. (After that statement, I bet you realized that I am a pure vegetarian)


“Alright, alright….are you folks ready to order?” asked Naveen, our waiter at Inchin’s Bamboo Garden.

Little did I know, that he was a customer service guru who will reinforce all my beliefs on how simple things can transform customers to promoters of your brand in the market place. And above all, he was going to put on a fantastic show of what I call the 5C customer service qualities. The 5 qualities I believe every customer service representative in every organization should possess.

And the team began to order. After 6-7 drinks & 4-5 appetizers ordered, I realized that Naveen was not making a note of anything that we ordered. Just kept nodding his head after every item was ordered. Every time, I see a waiter not take a note of what I am ordering, it makes me VERY nervous. “I bet you are going to forget a couple of things for sure, Naveen”, I said.

“Sir, anything that I forget is all on me, you don’t have to pay for it”, said Naveen in a very polite but a firm tone accompanied with a pleasant smile. I chuckled, “Let’s see” I said. We continued to order.

Related: ARTICLE: Customer Experience Lessons Straight from the Toilets of Singapore Airport

After all of us ordered, Naveen looked at me again and said, “To make sure that you are comfortable and confident, I am going to repeat everything you and your friends ordered in the reverse order, sir”. Again the same polite tone and that pleasant smile. And, HE DID IT! Repeated all our orders in the reverse order and missed nothing!

“Impressive Naveen, you have to teach me that trick. Your memory is awesome”, thats me.

“Absolutely sir, anything to make sure that you walk out of here delighted. Thats my job”.

4. CARE:
We couldn’t stop talking about Naveen for the rest of the time there. His pleasant smile and genuine service had impressed all of us thoroughly. Every time he delivered our order, he summarized what our order was, along with the customizations that we wanted, only to return in a few seconds to check whether the customizations were meeting our expectations.

By the time we got to the desserts. He had a fan club at our table. To the extent that no one ordered any desserts, everyone wanted Naveen to select their respective desserts and “surprise” them.

Naveen was not going to stop with his service excellence, he kept going. He got us double plastic boxes with ice cubes so the extra Ice cream that my colleague was going to take with him does not melt until he reaches his home which was 10 miles away. Every single moment at that table was well thought of and executed by Naveen, flawlessly.

It was time for us to leave Naveen alone to take care of his next customer. “Check, please” I asked. “Oh, you will get that for sure, sir. That’s one thing we will give without you asking”. His sense of humor tasted sweeter than the deserts to all of us.

“Naveen, you are awesome”, I said.
“Thank you sir, this job is so much fun”, Naveen replied.

That was the first time, I heard a waiter say that their job was fun. I don’t think Naveen went through a formal customer service training or he read the 5C quality framework before he took he waiter job. Naveen earned all our respect and reminded us of how simple things can transform user experiences which some of the biggest organizations in the world tend to ignore.

Thank you, Naveen. You were awesome!

Related: ARTICLE: Customer Experience Lessons Straight from the Toilets of Singapore Airport

An early entrepreneur in social media, Bala is a strategic customer service leader with a track record of customer experience transformations globally. Bala has 2 decades of experience in customer experience strategy & operations for leading brands like Google, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft. Prior to Intuit, Bala was leading global process & business excellence for Google’s trust & safety vendor operations. You can connect with Bala via Linkedin, view his personal blog here, or follow him on Twitter @vbkarthik123

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