It really is about service.
Recently, I was in New York helping a friend celebrate a milestone birthday. The birthday boy hosted a group of us for dinner at Le Bernardin, a Michelin 3-star restaurant that perennially lands on top 10 lists. We had a wonderful time! If not the best restaurant experience I’ve ever had, it was among the best two or three.
The room is beautiful, and the food was beyond merely delicious. That’s all good, but the factor that put the experience over the top was … the service.
From the moment we set foot in the door to the moment we left, we were treated with the quiet warmth you reserve for a good friend – one you haven’t seen in a while and are delighted to see again. Everything was low-key, relaxed, and quietly fun. We couldn’t ask a dumb question. We couldn’t make a mistake. We were eating frightfully expensive food, using art-quality dishes and flatware and starched white linens in a totally luxurious setting, and yet it was … relaxing.
And it was a lesson. Not the first time I’ve had it, but reinforcement always helps.
When I landed at Village 4+ years ago with my brand-new real estate license, I trained – as we all did – with our broker, the fabulous Bobbie Noreen. She insisted that real estate is a “helping profession” not unlike nursing or social work. It’s all about service to others.
In that moment, I was skeptical. But over time, it has proved true again and again. The properties that are bought and sold as I do my work are, of course, of central importance. But if the service that wraps around the transaction isn’t first rate, the luster of the property itself is dimmed. If Le Bernardin had been noisy, or uncomfortable, or if the staff had been snooty or sloppy, paying several hundred dollars a person for dinner would have been a miserable experience – no matter how good the food was.
As it was, we floated out to the taxi on a cloud of bliss, remarking that we’d like to eat like that every day for the rest of our lives. In fact, if I could be taken care of in the style of Le Bernardin every day, I’d eat McDonalds and be happy.
So, a lesson – for me, and for you, and for everybody in the world: give the client, or anyone else you run into, the best experience you can. Treat them as you would a good friend. Not only is it good for business (you’d better believe I’m going to save up a few coins and return to Le Bernardin) it’s good for the whole planet.
Bliss begets bliss.