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VIEWPOINT: Be innovative! Move with the times

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Last month we learnt about ‘clevenue’, that is, clever revenue models. But not all businesses have the luxury of earning annuity income or operating in an industry with a high profit margin. However, we can all try to be innovative in attracting and keeping our customers (happy).

I must stop myself from going on and on about service and how a bad experience can often leave a sour taste in the mouth. But the thing that really irritates me about bad service is that it doesn’t take that much energy to smile, to speak courteously and to do something to the best of your ability (I was a waitress for eight years – I know what I’m talking about).

That’s why I was so stunned last week when I had two experiences that really broke the mould and impressed me.

The first was at a restaurant (I might as well name drop, I’m complimenting them – Bombay Brasserie, Taj Hotel, Cape Town) where the service was excellent. Efficient, courteous and humble.

Furthermore, the restaurant had incorporated so many ‘little extras’ that don’t cost very much but add a lot to the experience – for instance  a sorbet between meals that comes in a Heston Blumenthal-inspired bowl and an appetizer before the first course. Simple ingredients, nothing fancy, but something extra that you don’t expect and therefore impresses you.

The other was when I walked passed Col’Cacchio and saw a poster stating that they now serve Banting pizzas … I wouldn’t go as far as referring to myself as a ‘Banter’ (I love chocolate too much), but I generally don’t each much carbs, so suffice to say, I’m not a pizza lover. My husband on the other hand – is! So we sit down, I eat my cauliflower base pizza and it was delicious! I’m happy, he’s happy, and Col’Cacchio has extra patrons going forward. It doesn’t seem that difficult, does it?

Be innovative! Move with the times. The songs Madonna sang in the eighties are not the songs she sang in the 21st century, and that’s why she remained a pop star decade after decade!

Think about the small things you can do that your customers don’t expect. These things will set you apart from your competitors and keep your customers coming back.

Author: Gizelle Willows CA(SA) MCom Finance is Senior Lecturer in Financial Reporting at the University of Cape Town