Great Customer Service Is Easy As Pie

Today I got a good old fashioned lesson in great customer service and it all started with pie.

Ice box full of pie at Sylvan Park Restaurant
This is the ice box full of pie that taught me the most valuable lesson in great customer service.

Brittani and I were wandering through a neighborhood and decided to have breakfast at a meat and three. The humbly named Sylvan Park Restaurant was our choice for one this particular beautiful late Saturday morning.

I hadn’t eaten breakfast there, only lunch, on several occasions over the last few years. We argued whether or not they were open for breakfast but noticed a slew of cars in the parking lot and knew we needed to give it a try. Immediately after sitting down, we were enveloped by the dated decor and incredibly reasonably priced menu. It was really a trip back in time.

This wasn’t my first trip to Sylvan Park Restaurant. A few years ago, my sister from Pittsburgh had come to visit. While we were there the waitress offered us lemon meringue pie. She was insistent on telling us about how the pies were made fresh and in such high demand that they would have to separate literally hundreds of eggs each week just in order to keep up.

The pie was delicious and the time and care that the waitress took to tell us the story about separating eggs became a bit of a thing between my sister and me. Each year we would take turns buying each other a different type of egg separating gadget to celebrate the memory of our visit to the restaurant. The waitress’s story left a lasting impression on us about the hospitality of Nashville and the quality of food at the restaurant.

As I was paying for our breakfast this morning, I walked by a glass cooler filled with beautiful coconut creme and pecan pies with a white board sign above it listing all of the day’s fresh pies. In an effort to remind my sister of our memorable encounter, I took out my cell phone to snap a photo to later send to her. Before I could even return my phone to my pocket, a member of the restaurant staff, a lady in her 60’s with blue jeans and a simple “Sylvan Park Restaurant” t-shirt walked over and exclaimed, “What are you doing!?”

Quickly, feeling guilty, I tried to explain to her how much my sister in Pittsburgh loved their pies and that I was going to send her the picture to remind her of our long ago visit. She looked at me calmly with a smile, looked over at Brittani and then leaned in and softly asked me, “would you like to take one home?”

I sighed with great relief. The lady had taken me totally by surprise; I was overwhelmed with gratitude. “Of course!” I emphatically replied.

The lady disappeared into the back of the restaurant, brought a cardboard box for the pie, began folding it and very carefully and skillfully placed one of the coconut creme pies inside. As she came over to present us with her offering, she made sure that we would go straight home to place it in the refrigerator.

We were so surprised by her act of generosity, we didn’t know what to do or what to say. I presented her with a $5 tip as a token of my appreciation. I didn’t want to offend her hospitality by offering to pay for the pie, but I wanted to make sure she understood how grateful I was. As I was about to walk away, Brittani asked her the simplest of questions, “What’s your name?”

“Regina,” she replied. “My sister owns this place.”

She went on to explain the that the restaurant is closed on Sunday and they don’t always sell out of pie on Saturday but she wanted to make sure this particular one had a home to go to tonight.

Although I will never understand why the lady thought to surprise me by offering such a lovely treat, her hospitality and thoughtfulness will leave me talking about that restaurant and my particular experience for years and years to come. That one moment. That one exercise of selflessness and thoughtfulness will always remain with me each and every time I see an ice box full of pie.

It doesn’t matter what you sell, how much it costs or who is there to buy it, if you want to create a strong and positive reputation for your business, treat your customers with respect. Every once in a while, do something special because the special moments are the ones that get shared.

An Enchanted Night at the Tennessee Democratic Headquarters

After a delicious dinner prepared by Executive Chef +Garrett Pittler, +Brittani Fox and I had the pleasure of attending the Election Results Party hosted by US Congressman Jim Cooper. The event, which was hosted at the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel, was filled with happy smiling faces, local politicians, business people and outstanding citizens. I was elated to have the opportunity to meet with re-elected US Congressman Jim Cooper of Tennessee’s 5th District to congratulate him on his victory as well as newly elected Davidson County Clerk Brenda Wynn. After Obama was projected to win the election, the room erupted with cheers. I even had a chance to share my excitement with Erika Lathon of FOX 17 towards the end of the party. Here are a few photos from the event. (Click Here for Full Post on Google+)

Walmart Neighborhood Market Review

Normally, I wouldn’t share reviews of grocery stores on a blog focused on digital marketing and customer engagement. However, I think customer service is evolving and I want to share a story about my trip to the local Walmart Neighborhood Market. It goes something like this… Continue reading Walmart Neighborhood Market Review

We Get Social, Ya’ll: Why Nashville is the Next City in Tech

Today is a special day for Music City, +Google is gracing our fair city with their presence today as part of a partnership with +FLO {thinkery}. Google is hosting their first Google for Entrepreneurs event called +G4eNashville. A lot of the who’s who in Google will be there today talking to entrepreneurs about leveraging Google’s products such as AdWords, Places and +Google+ for their business.

Nashville is obviously the city that music calls home and that could mean a lot for new technology firms as technology continues to influence music. Obviously Nashville is a booming town for country musicians, but there is a wide variety of music that is produced recorded and played live here encompassing dozens of genres. Continue reading We Get Social, Ya’ll: Why Nashville is the Next City in Tech

Nashville American Heart Association Heart Walk

This year a team of my co-workers and I will set out for a fundraiser for the Nashville chapter of the American Heart Association. The American Heart Association is the largest voluntary health organization working to prevent, treat and defeat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. These diseases, the Nation’s No.1 and No.3 killers, claim more than 865,000 American lives a year.

I challenge you to help me raise money to support this amazing organization and to volunteer to help the AHA in any way that you can. Your donation, no matter how small can make an amazing difference. This year I have set a very reasonable goal that I hope to achieve by the end of July. Your donation, even of $1, will help me reach this goal. So, if you’ve ever lost someone in your family to stroke or heart disease, or want to fund research that could help us find treatments for heart disease and possibly increase your longevity, then please consider being generous.

In order to make a donation of $25 or more (the smallest donation the American Heart Association can accept online) please visit my team sponsorship page. If you don’t feel that you have that much money to donate, or just want to make a small pledge, please send your funds via PayPal. All funds received via PayPal will be sent directly to the Nashville Chapter of the American Heart Association.

(For Donations $25 or Higher)

(For Donations Less than $25)

Once you have made your pledge, please send me a tweet or e-mail and I will be sure to thank you for your generosity on my blog and on Twitter. Please remember, your very small token of generosity can make a very large difference in a field that affects so many. Thank you for your time and your good will. Please share this link and donate a tweet if you can’t send any money!


Peter McDermott