Once again, another absolutely fabulous company has joined me for this week’s Saturday Spotlight interview and I can’t wait to introduce you! My customer service mission was initially started because I was so exasperated with falling standards of customer service but since I started writing, I’ve done a lot more smiling than grumbling and working with my guest today is exactly one of the reasons why. Please welcome to the Lady Janey sofa, the lovely Carla from The Kilcot Inn.
Hi Carla, please tell me about your company and its history
There has been a building on this site since the 1550’s but the pub itself was building in 1690 by a chap called Thomas Davis. Thomas was a peasant serf from Dymock with no land or money. However, rather interestingly, his brother Edward was a privateer and pirate! To cut a very long and adventurous story short, Edward arrested for piracy any imprisoned in America. He petitioned King William and Queen Mary for his release along with his assets (which had been impounded as ‘pirate booty’) He eventually won the case and returned home with £3000 which translates into over a million pounds. Edward was never heard of again but fairly quickly afterwards, his brother bought this land and built the inn- so we always say this is the pub that was built by piracy……
To bring us to do date, the pub was bought by a local family about a decade ago- it was totally derelict and had been empty and unloved for some time. It was rebuilt by the family and here we still are today. We are proud to help The Kilcot Inn remain here for another 400 years!
Why is good customer service important?
Because that’s what makes a difference between us and the ‘big boys.’ We have a small friendly team who can take the time to make you feel special. We don’t make you feel rushed- we want you to come in, chill out and relax. We don’t turn tables during service for that reason- we want customers to feel that they are with us to enjoy themselves rather than eat and leave.
How would you rate the quality of customer service you deliver and why?
I would say very good. But being truthful, I would also say that we are a small team and sometimes we can make mistakes- but we always try to fix them immediately.
How do you deal with any complaints?
We try and make it right straight away. If anyone leaves our building unhappy, then we haven’t done what we set out to do. If we know, we fix it – fresh meal, new drink etc. If we don’t know at the time, we always endeavour to get the customer back to show them what we can do.
I would encourage our guests to speak to us- we are really very nice people!
How do you encourage customer loyalty?
By being consistent. We get a lot of repeat custom and many bookings for those big life events- parties, funerals and weddings; because they know we are reliable.
And we are always happy to share our 10% discount cards if our customers are sharing the good news about us!
Why should people choose you as a company?
We aren’t a big corporate chain- we are an independent pub, trying as hard as we can to use and showcase what is in the local area. Our head chef Richard has spent a great deal of time sourcing local companies to provide us the best produce- for example, we know the lady who produces our lamb as she only lives a few miles away. He’s also worked hard to offer an interesting vegetarian and vegan menu- as a rural pub he identified that there wasn’t anywhere else locally offering this.
We can change our menu daily according to what’s good at the moment- if a supplier offers us some great produce, we can take it in the morning and have it on the specials board in the evening. We can support small companies who can only deliver once a week because we don’t need to follow a long chain of command.
We also pride ourselves on being eco-friendly as possible. All of our water is recycled through an on-site reed bed system and we are lucky enough to have our own bee hives. We are also growing our own organic herbs and salad leaves this year, which is very exciting.
Where can people find you?
When I first had the pleasure to meet Carla last year, I was blown away by the commitment, enthusiasm and passion of all who work at The Kilcot Inn and the pride they take in aiming to deliver the best possible customer service experience possible. If you haven’t been there for a meal, then you really should. Richard is a fabulous chef who uses the very best of local produce in his dishes. I’ll definitely be heading there very soon to try the new vegan and vegetarian menu! They even have rooms so I can stay over after drinking my body weight in wine! How absolutely fabulous!
It has been lovely to chat today! Until next week, many thanks and cin cin!
Lady Janey x