Saturday, October 31, 2009

Professor Dominic Pinto

I have good news for all you captains of industry striving to provide the best customer service to your customers. Skip the expensive seminars where you spend oodles of money flying your reps to hear the latest "100 ways to.." from an Ivy League yuppie who never actually worked a day in his life.

I have an alternative, and it's free. Well, almost -- you may have to buy a hot dog, hoagie or cheese steak.

In the great city of Philadelphia, in the middle of 9th Street between Chestnut and Sansom, outside the prestigious Ben Franklin House, is Dominic Pinto and his lunchcart. There maybe many culinary alternatives in this end of town but he always has a line... because people walk a bit to buy breakfast and lunch from Dom.

Of course the food is good but they come back for the customer service. No one leaves unhappy, all "get a deal" (or at least they think they do), and free of charge Dom tells jokes and sings, almost constantly. Favorites, perhaps due to his ethnic background, seem to be Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra but I've heard Danny Boy on a few occasions and Motown and TSOP are also on the request list.

One thing I love about Dom is that he treats everyone the same -- but you better have a sense of humor. Case in point; an extremely well dressed doctor (French cuffs, wingtips, white lab coat), was waiting patiently in line. The type of guy, probably a surgeon, who looked like he's used to getting his dupa kissed -- quite often. As he's about to order Dom interrupts and says "yo buddy... you got any money? I don't want to waste our time here. Let's see it." The doctor, who had probably never had that question asked, or had anyone talk to him in that manner... literally didn't know whether to ____ or go blind. Funny thing is he still gets his lunch there every week ;-)

So if you're looking for lunch and you're in this part of town, feel free to take Professor Pinto's South Philly Customer Service 101 course. You'll leave with a smile on your face... and isn't that the ultimate goal of customer service?

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