Diary of an Agent | Telephone Reservation Support for a Surprise Anniversary
In my line of work, you never know who is going to be at the other end of the telephone and you never know how you’re going to be able to help them. Answering restaurant lines and providing telephone reservation support can bring unexpected and trivial joys.
After grabbing a strong cup of coffee from our telephone agent break room, I sat down at my work station ready for the next shift of ringing telephone calls. One of my first calls that came through made my day; possibly even my week.
I would love to share the name of the restaurant that I was answering for that day, but of course, our clients have 100% confidentiality. Most of the time, their calling diners don’t even realize that I am a virtual hostess; answering their inquiries from another state. The gentleman that called in next was no exception and automatically thought I was the restaurant hostess waiting to take his dinner reservation. With the booking calendar open, I started to look for availability this upcoming weekend when he shared, “It’s a dinner reservation for ten and it’s me and my wife’s 30th anniversary.” I smiled wide and said, “Congratulations! Thirty years is definitely something to celebrate. Let’s see if we can find some space for Saturday night.” As I quickly scanned the restaurant’s calendar and times available he started to tell me that he wanted to do something super special for his bride. He always forgets their anniversary but this year he made certain to have it on the calendar to plan something unique for her.
His first question was, “What does your restaurant currently offer for special occasions such as these?” As he was asking the question, I was scrolling our restaurant notes in my file to see any notations made of anniversary or birthday dinners. I quickly saw that the General Manager of the restaurant listed that on Saturday nights there was live music in the restaurant and this Saturday, there just happened to be an accordion musician playing! I asked my caller, “What was your wedding song, Ed?” His voice was tickled with excitement and curiosity as he answered, “What a Wonderful World. Why do you ask?” I then shared an idea that just came to me. I told Ed that I couldn’t promise anything because I didn’t know if the musician was familiar with the song, but that I would try and get him to come to the table during their reservation to serenade them with their wedding song. Ed was overjoyed and I had to remind him with a giggle, “let me see if I can make it happen first, Ed. I will give you a call back just as soon as possible.”
After securing the calling customer’s reservation on the restaurant calendar and obtaining a good contact telephone number for him, I made my next outgoing call. I called the restaurant, our client of five years, and asked to speak with Mary, the general manager. Mary was impressed with my initiative to make her diners’ evening extra special. She assured me that their musician took requests from other restaurant diners and that she thought we could make this anniversary dinner an event to remember. In less than five minutes, Mary was calling my line back to tell me that she had contacted her musician and that he was ready, willing and able to play the lovers’ song. I yelled out a big, “Awesome!” and blushed when other telephone operators looked my way.
I was humming Louis Armstrong’s, “What a Wonderful World,” as I made my final outgoing call to the dining caller. “Hi, may I speak with Ed please?” A woman asked for my name and the reason for my call. Thinking on my feet, as I didn’t know if this woman was his wife and I sure didn’t want to spoil such a surprise, I replied, “This is Sara calling him back. We just spoke a few moments ago and he will know what it is regarding.” This answer seemed to be sufficient as she asked me to hold one moment. I breathed a sigh of relief as Ed came to the phone, “Hey Sara. That was quick! So, what’s the verdict?” I was so happy to share that his reservation included a private serenade for his party by the musician. He yelled his enthusiastic gratitude and asked if I would be working on Saturday so he could stop by the hostess station and thank me in person. I laughed and told him that I wasn’t working that night but I hoped his anniversary surprise was a big hit. After about ten thank-you’s, I ended the call and made a special note in his reservation to notify his waiter of the special add-on and wrote a message to the musician through the email address the General Manager provided confirming the date, time and song.
I am sure whenever I hear that song, I will forever think of Ed and how I hope his wife loved our surprise for her. I love being a part of a business telephone answering service and love that I can touch people’s lives by simply being there when they call and in this case, assisting in memorable telephone reservation support.