Something to Celebrate!

We had something to celebrate.  After 18 months of hard work and dedication, it all paid off.  Success!!  I couldn’t have been happier for my client and friend.  And so I thought, we’d do something fun and go out and celebrate.

We both love to do a bit of fine dining (though we’d hatched more than a few grand plans over wine and fries), but to truly celebrate I thought … let’s go upmarket and live it up!  Two strong women, hacking it out in IT, showing London what we’ve got …  I thought female chef, a bit of fun, let’s go big.  2 Michelin star restaurant.  And there we were at Helen Darroze.

From the moment we entered the restaurant, late I might add, and very out of breath from hoofing it over, we’re greeted warmly and with genuine smiles, we cracked a few jokes, they cracked a few back.  They brought us to the table, made the transition effortless.  We were offered champagne from a magnificent bucket on a trolley packed with ice and lovely bottles.  We remarked about the elegance and subtly of the decor.  The stemware was light almost to the point of breaking, the flow of the waitstaff, silent through the room.  The details were all perfect.  The lightness and crispness of the linens.  

And then came the menu. And we laughed, it was presented as a game.  And it looked like this.

Then course after course, with pairings, with unfailing customer service.  Seamless.  Flawless.  Fun.  Each dish was something exactly what we wanted, tasty, fun and something different than what we’d ever had before.

We laughed and my client said, “If only IT would get it like these guys do.  It’s about the light touch.  The whole experience.  Making the customer enjoy being with us.”   Of course, then she totally threw down the gauntlet and said, “you should write a blog about it”.   So touché, SM, this one is for you  🙂

Here’s some lessons IT can learn from a 2 star Michelin restaurant:

  1. What happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen.  I.e., the customer should have a flawless, seamless experience.  They could have had all sorts of things happening in the back, I would never have known.
  2. Give the customer what they want.  They want an EXPERIENCE, not just a plate of food thrown at them.  They want to be able to make choices, their choices – not ours.  (There was a 5-course offering and a 7-course offering.  Honestly, I couldn’t eat 7, but when I came to the last 6 choices I couldn’t take one away.  When I asked the waiter, can I do 6?  No problem didn’t bat an eye.  And PSBTW, when I had my last course and SM was sitting waiting, they brought her a plate and a nibble so she wasn’t lonely.  What?  Amazing!)
  3. Do not underestimate customer joy.  Apple competes on this, why not you?  We had many moments of OMG, and I can’t believe how pretty or delicious something was.  We had multiple moments of joy (yes, we were paying top dollar (pounds!)) for it, but it is what we expected from walking in.  What do your customers expect from your IT Service?  Many were unexpected, many were the small things where we felt we were being taken care of.
  4. Deliver value often.  From the three amouse bouche then the bread, the menu like a game, the service, our courses and then the little petits fours and chocolates and coffee…  I mean, it just kept coming.  Many times in little tiny packages.  Do we have to bring out a giant roast and carve it all at one time, or can we be more Agile in our thinking and deliver small bits of value to keep our customers happy?
  5. Benchmark yourself against great IT, not ‘good enough’ IT.  To get a star, or two or three requires a pursuit of excellence that is remarkable.  Why shrug off being able to do amazing things because it’s not what we ‘do’ in IT, why not reach for something that is great.  Why can’t you deliver an interface as beautiful and simple as Google?