As the retail sector tightened its belt, the challenge of making customers feel valued without spending any money to do so continued. "Special offers" on luggage and costume jewelry came with credit card bills. "Progress reports" when you bought something online--Your order has left the warehouse; It's on the truck; It's in a neighboring state--made you feel like your business really mattered.
And how about those nice and patient robot voices on the phone? "Sorry you misplaced your ticket! I'll just look that information up! Here we go!"
But use a real employee who costs real money and you get the flip side of free service when it costs the company nothing-- namely, Service-With-A-Snare.
Service-With-A-Snare began with phone company shakedowns like, "Before we restore your dial tone can we interest you in our new Dialing Elite service program?" But it soon graduated to banks, automobile shops, medical professionals and any business who has power over you.
In restaurants Service-With-A-Snare is known as the tableside culinary filibuster. "Hello My Name is Dwayne and I will be your server this evening. Tonight we offer a glazed, skewered, marinated, caramelized bisque of ..." begins the soliloquy, not that you asked or couldn't read the menu.
The tableside culinary filibuster is not as threatening as the tactics of phone companies with power over your dial tone. But if you were going to just have an appetizer, you'll probably upsell your order because of the subtle duress. If you're wearing a shirt, that is.
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