Finding Ways

October 20, 2009

I had a scheduled talk in Tagaytay.

It was a stormy day. But a commitment is a commitment.

santis_01And so early 6:30 morning, My wife Lilia, Pam my assistant and I left Manila and took the South Luzon Expressway. We arrived early. We haven’t had our breakfast. I know a very nice place called Santis; tried it before and fell in love with a dish they made called Tuna Sashimi salad. I’ve always wanted to go back and taste that dish again and now the moment is here.

The store opened at 8AM and we entered the place 2 minutes before eight. Judith the manager welcomed us. And when I told her I would love to taste their famous Tuna Sashimi Salad she said, “Sir, I am sorry but the chef will come in at 8:30AM but please do make yourself comfortable and I can bring you anything else you like.”

Francis Kong and JudithI felt sad. I really wanted to have my companions try it. I said, “Oh, to be honest, having a plate of Tuna Sashimi Salad is the reason why we are here this morning.”

Judith offered another option saying, “Sir, we have freshly baked bread and we have sausages and other things you may want to choose from and we will be more than happy to prepare it for you.”

I said “thank you.” I ordered coffee and sadly commented, “Maybe we can get to order that the next time we get here.”

Judith looked at me and asked, “Sir, do you really want it? I can try to fix it for you.” I said, “You would? That’s mighty nice of you.”

After a few minutes, the dish was served. And I was delighted. It may not be as good as the one prepared by the chef but it was better. Because it comes from a heart of one who really wants to serve.

I asked for a piece of paper. I wrote a letter addressed to her boss and complimented her on her dedication to customer service. And just before I left, the owner of the store happened to call up the store and I had a chance to talk to him. I told him I appreciated Judith’s effort, I will write about this experience in my column and I did say, “And oh yes, by the way, the food is great too!”

Tuna Sashimi Salad

Suddenly we all realized that the food quality – as good as it was – becomes secondary to the excellent service extended. Now this is real customer service in action. I doubt it if I could really say, “Today, a chef was born.” But I could by all confidence claim, “Today, a loyal customer has been created!”

It would have been easy for Judith to say, “I am so sorry but we could not serve the dish without the chef.” But she went out of her way, inconvenienced herself, took on the responsibility of the task and served me what I wanted.

In other words, Judith found ways to serve and now she is recognized and I really hope she would be rewarded.

Successful people find ways. Excellent institutions find ways.

Is it any coincidence why the leading banking institution in our country today has it as their slogan: “We find ways?” And being with them as a trainer for quite a while I certainly know that they are really serious in living up to this claim?

Excellent people find ways. Mediocre people find reasons.

Excellent people improve. Mediocre people decline.

Excellent people smile. Mediocre people whine.

Excellent people think out of the box. Mediocre people rarely even think.

Excellent people do their responsibility. Mediocre people do their job.

Excellent people are committed. Mediocre people are compliant.

This is why excellent people succeed while mediocre people never do.

My wife The Ilocana and my associate Pam enjoyed breakfast. They did love the Tuna Sashimi Salad. I went to the venue, gave my talk and on our way back was trapped in the South because of the terrible flood that gripped the entire city.

We checked in a hotel. Spent the night there but still talked about our experience with Judith. It was just a simple Tuna Sashimi Salad but what a lesson we can all learn from it.

Excellent customer service after all is simply inconveniencing one’s self for the convenience of others. And it squares with Scriptures that says: “Do unto others… as if you were the others.” (paraphrased of course).

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. aris sigue

    Now that’s what I call a service!

    God Bless!

  2. Paul Garilao

    Good to know you are now putting photos on your blogs. That will make the blog entry interesting…

  3. Paul Garilao

    This is a wonderful blog…and excellent customer service is about showing the genuine service to make others not only satisfied but joyful.

  4. Liam

    i like this article…. excellent customer service is really important. =)

  5. Shermel

    Kudos to Judith! Pleasing a customer is indeed one of the pillars of successful business.

  6. Marie Joy Soriano

    Yeah right Aris …
    A great customer service, how i wish all salesperson/staff might like Judith.
    And sir Francis kong, you’re mo idol.. i love to watch you always at UKG giving some guidelines and advises.
    Til next.. -Joy

  7. Kristine

    wow.. thank you for sharing..

  8. Catherine

    people MUST read this. excellent customer service is rarely seen.

  9. Doc Broks

    That tuna sashimi salad DOES look great! (I wish they have salmon sashimi too….)
    Thanks bro FK. God bless u!

  10. Vangie Gonzales

    Thank you for the article Mr. Francis. Nakaka touch naman. (though I’m with “You’re in good hands”, hehe) Bless your heart Judith of Santis, Tagaytay!

  11. jhoeforth

    Great article, Francis. The Tuna Sashimi looks absolutely delicious. Can you provide more specifics where is Santis in Tagaytay? 🙂 Now, there are 2 reasons to go there, the Sashimi and committed service.

  12. John R. Castillo

    Sir Francis,

    Nice sharing this story to us…(your readers)… It inspires and makes us more aware that the simple things you are doing to your customer…makes you great and big …. Nice feelings… realll !!!!

    More power to you and god bless you always..


  13. Jeff M.

    I will try to visit this restaurant one of these days.

  14. Rain

    I’ll definitely look for Santis when I go to Tagaytay! Though Im not a great fan of Sashimis, Judith is a good reason to go there! God bless! 🙂

  15. Jojo Madriaga

    It’s very inspiring and heartwarming. Judith made you a Tuna Sashimi Salad, but by sharing your story with her, she gave me “food for the Heart”.
    Thanks for sharing this Sir Francis. God Bless as always.

  16. Danny Santiago

    Honestly we need more people like “Judith” in our workplace. Having more Emloyees like Judith not only create “loyal customers”, rather make things easier for people to to work with each other. And since I work for a hotel, I have to admit that there are times when I just comply to our guests’ wishes. But after reading this story, I’ve learned the lesson to be a more attentive and responsible employee. I was really inspired by Judith act of going out of her way to serve a customer. This is an act that we all should imitate and put into action. Thanks again for sharing this inspiring story.

  17. Chie Villamil

    We are going to visit Judith of Santis with my girlfriend. Real quality service… this is gonna be fun. wish we have more like Judith here in Phil..(T.T)

    Thanks Sir Francis,

  18. Erich

    true customer service means raising the delight so much that they will patronize you, no matter what the price since they have found the people more important than the product.

  19. dan

    Kudos to Judith. Sana madaming katulad nya sa public sector! 🙂

  20. irvin

    hey judith i would like to meet yuo and had a talk to my we spread such wife used to work in your boracay branch…to sir francis, my idol…i alway s watch you at umagang kay GANDA…your inputs are always usefull.its a good thing i have acces in you online…

  21. ROSE

    Hello Mr. Francis,
    How are you? I always watch you on UKG and I would stop everything I do including Facebook just to lend all my eyes and ears on TV. I’m a Restaurant Owner/Manager here in South Carolina USA so all your advices on business matters especially this one is very valuable to me:) I admire Judith for her exemplary customer service and for going out of her way to serve the dish even if it was not part of her forte and job description. I would like to hire as many Judiths @ my Restaurant and I’m sure a lot of Restaurant Owners/Manager are willing to pirate her from SANTI’S:) I started as a Cashier for 2 years before I my Restaurant from my former Boss back in May 1998. I do the same thing and everytime a Customer asks for something we don’t have in the menu, I would always go Online to search for the Recipes and learn to try to prepare it so next time they come back, I have their favorite food to eat though I offer Substitutes that are closer to what they’re looking for. As of today, my MENU started with only 20 originally from the Previous Owner and is now 50 & counting offering the best of the best from Customer’s Suggestions, Comments & Valuable Inputs. Hope to see more of you on TFC, a regular Business Talk Show perhaps:) Goodluck on everything you do and keep up the good work because you help a lot of Business Owners including ME:) Best regards & God bless!!! Sincerely, ROSE

  22. Archie

    Wow Great!!!.. .. Customer satisfaction. I cant’ wait to see judith i might bring my girlfriend and try Tuna Sashimi When i get back there in phil.. I want people like Judith here in England.. 🙁

    Thank you Francis..

  23. sixto casano

    dear sir francis. i am grateful for your inspiring story. i am the operations officer of a homegrown nursing review center in zamboanga city. we have been doing well in our operations despite our competition with the big boys of the nursing review business. your story of judith has brightened my outlook on competition. excellent people are not measured by their past but their actual performance. thank you again sir. yes, i will do better. i will find ways.

    sincerely, Sixto casano

  24. Raquel Torbanus

    Yan and Excellent Customer Service, kahit hindi nya trabaho ginawa nya para hindi umalis and customers ng malungkot

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