Three weeks ago Sarah and I drove around the country delivering trophies to the overall winners of the Best Estate Agent Guide Awards and the Best EA Supplier Guide Awards.
Our journey started in Harrogate and took in Macclesfield, Peterborough, Cambridge, Southampton and Winchester. After a long week, we arrived into Winchester at lunchtime. I suggested to Sarah we treat ourselves and have a really nice lunch – “do you know somewhere good?” she asked, but not having visited the city for some time I didn’t have the first idea.
Let me ask you a question, what would you do in this situation?
Here’s what we did and it might cause you to think about the ways your customers find you.
We thought about just driving around and hoping we’d spot somewhere that looked good but our time was restricted and anyway, how likely is it we’d find the best place in town using that methodology? I do know a few people who live in Winchester but either not well enough to feel comfortable calling for a restaurant recommendation or not sure that I’d necessarily trust that their taste mirrors mine. Google was the next thought but as is often the case, it returned lots of links to Tripadvisor, a platform I’ve increasingly lost trust in not least with having been asked countless times by restaurants to leave a review, sometimes even being offered a discount for doing so. Then Sarah hit on our solution. “Let’s see what the Michelin Guide has to offer.” A quick search revealed several suggestions but this one stood out for us:
As I drove, Sarah made the call and we were in luck, a table for 2 was available in 15 minutes which we reserved. Now I admit to being slightly apprehensive that there was immediate availability however this was soon alleviated as when arriving at Kyoto Kitchen, (by the way located on an obscure, small street we’d never have thought to drive down), and finding it was completely rammed. We checked in and the server said, “Welcome, lovely to see you – you’re in luck, we just had a last minute cancellation, otherwise we’re fully booked.”
The meal was outstanding, it truly reminded me of restaurants I’d dined at in Kyoto when visiting there for BlueSky Japan in 2018. The owner came over and introduced himself and when discovering that we were staying over for two nights, (in order that we could complete our trip with visits to Swindon and Bournemouth), suggested we try his other restaurant, (Thai) which had recently opened. It was also excellent, indeed the two are so good we will return to Winchester specifically to experience them both again.
Let’s recap what happened.
Our first thought was to take pot luck and see what we might find. That option was rejected as it had more potential to disappoint than to prove successful.
Next we went to Google but, as is often the case, the quantity of options proved more confusing than helpful.
Tripadvisor could have been our guide but as with many others, (in our recent survey of 34,000 homemovers, just 1.97% trust reviews completely and 11.28% to a great extent), review sites are at best a possible indicator.
We then went to a source we trusted and it reinforced our trust as a consequence of delivering exactly what we were after, and more.
The skeptics might say, “Peter’s bound to say this to promote the Best Estate Agent Guide Awards” and they’d have a point. We actually based the methodology substantially on how Michelin goes about assessing restaurants. I will state for the record that had I known someone whose opinion I trust, that would have counted for more and had we driven past somewhere that looked really good then we might have taken potluck. But in the absence of either of these then our default is to seek independent advice and confirmation – and that’s what the Best Estate Agent Guide and Best EA Supplier Guide seeks to deliver.
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