My hotel in Los Angeles had a small dive bar in the back. I love small dive bars, so this was a nice treat for me. Business hotels where conferences are held always have bars that are way too geared towards executives on expense accounts and are sterile facsimiles of a good “joint” (see About Last Night for the true meaning of a “joint”).
Just one example. The bar was small so it had a limited selection of beer and wine. But the bartender was an expert on equivalencies. For example, I ordered an Angel City IPA, but they didn’t have it. But he knew that the Lagunitas IPA was closer than the Stone IPA in taste so he recommended that one. He did the same with my friend’s wine order.
This demonstrates all three levels of customer service empathy.
· He showed cognitive empathy in his understanding of what attributes of a beer are important to a customer when recommending an alternative.
· He showed affective empathy in his understanding that this would be important enough to customers to warrant investment of his time to keep up on beer and wine that his bar doesn’t serve.
· He showed sympathetic empathy in his clear demonstration that this wasn’t a bid to get a good tip; he really cared.