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02/04/2009 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

After a lively exchange on Facebook this morning, I'm going to expand on my previous note about customer service. It seems to be a hot topic at the moment, as the frighteningly trendy Monocle magazine has just devoted an entire issue to the subject.
For all the years I have lived in Paris, I've accepted the existence of the grumpy waiter. I've even found the archetype amusing. But now, in the context of la crise, I don't feel so kind. After all, it's my precious cash I'm spending in these restaurants. Surely the least the staff could do is be nice to me, bearing in mind that I am keeping them in employment?
This week I have had contrasting experiences. I'd like to praise the charming manager of Café Moderne (40, rue Notre Dame des Victoires, IIe arrondissement) and his friendly, efficient staff; also the suave Pascal at Les Signatures restaurant, part of the Press Club de France (8 rue Jean Goujon, VIIIe). You see: customer service is a form of PR. And when it's good, you get free publicity in the media. I won't bother mentioning the two restaurants in the Marais that I will never visit again.
With the crisis in mind, Monocle provides shops with these rules for getting customers to spend their money: service-minded, smartly dressed, enthusiastic staff; attention to detail; an inviting façade; good music; flattering lighting; a passion to innovate. And finally, drop the attitude (translation: "arrêtez d'être hautain"). What's so difficult to understand?

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