Shrimp & Grits Coming Up

There’s a quaint hotel in Savannah, GA where my husband and I enjoy occasional weekend getaways. We love the location, the decor and most of all – the staff. I have been passionate about customer experience throughout my marketing career. I typically display unusual levels of excitement when staff members show they really “get it”. It drives my husband insane.

During our first stay, we noticed unique details and special touches uncommon to typical hotels. I don’t mean amenities like extra shampoo, mini sewing kits or even those neat shoe shining cloths. From the bell staff to the concierge, the team of people at this hotel seemed to have a genuine passion for their responsibilities. I drove my husband bonkers as I whispered my adoration at each impressive detail. The housekeeping attendant asked if we were enjoying our stay as she pushed her cart down the hall. Another staff member graciously turned on the gas fire pit for us in the middle of the afternoon without being asked.  He said he wanted to make the terrace cozier for “his” guests.

It melts my heart to see staff members understand that they play a critical role in the experience for their guests. Even the most minor detail is an opportunity to make or break the customer’s perception of a business. When I didn’t think I could be more impressed, hotel chef Ms. M made my shrimp and grits and I was rendered speechless. (Side Note: my

favorite shrimp and grits recipe of all time can be found here.)

Southern Shrimp and Grits
Randy Mayor; Melanie J. Clarke

Preparing meals for guests since opening day, Ms. M is the life of the hotel’s unique open kitchen. She greets her guests like cousins at the family reunion. You can’t help but smile as she asks about your day, your job and your kids. She seems to remember you. Even if that’s just an act, I play along simply because she makes me happy. You also firmly believe that making your breakfast makes her the happiest person on earth.

It was about the time she was handing me my bowl of shrimp and grits that I gushed my appreciation for everything that I’d seen in the first 24 hours of our stay. Perhaps running around the counter to give her a big bear hug was too much, but I could only bridle my appreciation for fabulous customer service for so long.

As my husband recovered from his embarrassment, I thought about how often I lose my joy while handling the responsibilities of my day. I’m sure I’m not smiling widely as I make my fourth trip to the school in an afternoon or when I’m cleaning toilets that little boys really mess up. I’m also fairly certain I’m not smiling when my son forgets his football bag or my daughter forgets to tell me I need to send 24 cupcakes to school that day or when I’m late to work because of all of the above. Too often we allow circumstances, responsibilities and challenges to weigh us down.

It’s easy to forget the impact we have on our families and even on those we casually meet throughout the day. As Christians we have joy that’s far beyond what the world understands. We have the Spirit of the One who is Joy and Love living inside us. And for that reason alone we should be making more of a difference in the lives of others. It’s amazing the effect a simple greeting can have on another person’s attitude. We never know what that person is dealing with. Ask them about their day, their job, or their kids. Give them a big bear hug if you have to. If nothing else, smile and show that person the love of Jesus. It makes a difference!

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 NIV

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6 thoughts on “Shrimp & Grits Coming Up”

  1. You are making me want to go there now! I love it…I share your passion in excellent customer service! It makes me smile very big when “they get it!”

  2. Your New Friend

    I have been there and I know Ms. M.. I agree she is something else… she does let her love for Jesus shine in to every guest…. I relived my stays there.. in the beautiful city of Savannah Ga…thank you for being you….you made me HAPPY today…. Love, Love

  3. I also like to let people know that I appreciate their wonderful service. Can’t say I’ve ever hugged one of them, though! I so enjoy stopping in to read your stories and your messages.

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