Undercover Students: They May Be Watching You

business degree

Matt Dillard

Most of us have seen the TV show “Undercover Boss” where the CEO of a company changes their appearance and goes undercover in their own company. The purpose is to work side-by-side with the employees and discover the good and not-so-good of the company.

Business degree students in the Customer Service Strategies class, which is taught by Tom Stoltz at Globe University-Minneapolis, recently had a similar experience for a class project.  Students partnered with Ernie’s Pub and Grille in Burnsville and were given gift cards to dine and rate everything from the servers to the cleanliness of the restrooms – a project I like to call “Undercover Student.”

Going Under Cover

One of the students, Matt Dillard, shared his experience with me and what it means to have good customer service–key word “good” customer service, which seems to be difficult to find.      

Matt took his mother out for dinner at Ernie’s Pub, which I thought was a sweet touch to the whole experience.  Matt said when he arrived to Ernie’s he was in a bad mood and really wasn’t “feeling” this project. 

Immediately upon arriving (remember, no one knows he is undercover except the owner), the host greeted him with a warm smile.  He and his mother were seated immediately.  The positive experience from the beginning continued from the great atmosphere of the restaurant.  Matt’s bad mood was soon lifted.

The Power of Good Customer Service

The owners of the restaurant, John and Bryan, named the restaurant after John’s father, Ernie.  The owner instantly came over to Matt’s table and was so warm toward him and his mother.  This service instantly made Matt a lover of Ernie’s Pub, and he hadn’t even had any food yet (now that’s good customer service!).

Once the food arrived to Matt’s table, it only took a few moments to eat – it was fantastic, according to Matt!  The entire experience at Ernie’s was superb – not one bad moment.  The only thing “bad” was Matt’s bad mood being lifted.

Customer Service Advice

Matt learned a lot from this whole experience, including four ways to keep customers coming back to your business:

  1. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
  2. Be creative in getting the customer’s attention
  3. Make the customer feel good
  4. Provide their needs before they need it – Listen!

The Finale

Matt rated every detail about his experience and reported it back to the owners.  Matt (and his mother) loved every minute of their Undercover Experience, which has turned into loyal customers.

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