The Little Things …


I was told two image tales this week: one good and one … well you determine for yourself!

A friend with whom we were visiting last week was very eager to share an experience she’d recently enjoyed at the Bearfoot Bistro at Whistler. Never had she encountered such extraordinarily fine customer service. Firstly, her group pulled up in front of the restaurant and appeared confused as to where to park. Immediately, an employee of the restaurant came to the rescue and offered to park the car for them. Only when the same employee arrived at their table a few moments later to serve them did they realise it hadn’t been valet service, just a very helpful server!  My friend was dressed in black and was offered the choice of a black napkin rather than a white one in order to prevent the light coloured lint from marking her clothes.  Even though the group was considerable in size, all special requests and inquiries were attended to graciously. As the group enjoyed a number of drinks the wait staff discreetly inquired about driving arrangements and even offered to drive the car in order to be sure they returned safely home. (My friend was a designated driver and did not drink so while this service was appreciated, it wasn’t necessary that evening) Throughout the evening the group was impressed again and again by outstanding service. A week after the experience, my friend was still eager to share her story with others. I’m sure every one of us has now put the restaurant high on our list for future visits.

On the other hand, an associate who works in international business was equally eager to share his recent experience. He and his team were joined at their South American destination by the Canadian Consul and another member of the Diplomatic team. The other member was a young woman whose role was not made clear to the group. She was new to her job (whatever it happened to be) and did not have business cards available yet to exchange. (They were being printed and shipped from Ottawa) Early the following morning the group expected to be joined at the day’s meetings by the Consul himself but instead found this young woman joining them. They assumed by her demeanour that she was a junior assistant and were a bit surprised that they’d not been shown more respect due to the scale of their potential business endeavours. The woman climbed aboard the van in which they were traveling together and awkwardly adjusted the poorly fitting dress she was wearing. (It was buttoned down the front, pulling and gaping, revealing more than it should.) Immediately upon departure she rummaged in her handbag and withdrew a tub of yogurt and a spoon. She removed and licked the lid then stuck it back in her purse. She enthusiastically consumed the yogurt as she commented freely and not always appropriately in the group’s conversation. At the end of the day after she was returned to the Consulate, the group discussed her behaviour. It was then revealed that she in fact holds a very senior position within the Consulate – second-in-command Deputy Consul!  The team of Canadian business men representing one of the country’s largest companies was disappointed to think she’d be responsible for promoting communication and business between the two countries. Her poor image did not match the significance of her role and in fact, may well undermine future business dealings.

So there you have two tales circling the globe … both relating to an “image” experience.  An important element in each to note is that apparently “small” details make an enormous impact. Best that impression be positive rather than negative!


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