Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse: A Story of Email Marketing and Customer Service

December 5th, 2011  |  No Comments

The morning of the 30th I received an email newsletter. My wife had been subtly reminding me that “I” should be making the reservation. So since I was at my computer (as I always am) when the email came in and there was a clear and definable Call-To-Action in the email (see below), I went ahead and…well, clicked on ‘Make a Reservation’.

Ruth's Chris Email Newsletter

The reservation page was simply laid out with not a lot of distracting elements. Basic questions.

Naturally, after filling out the form, I received an automated email thanking me for the reservation..etc. What I didn’t realize is that someone would actually pay attention to the details of the form. This impressed the hell out of me and prompted me to write this blog post.

To provide a little backdrop. I’ve been email marketing for 14 years. Yes, before there were 8 million email marketing systems to choose from there was Excel and Microsoft Outlook (and plenty of copying/pasting). I started by simply sending out basic emails to an Excel (manual) database. Later, I would test multiple systems as they came out, build our own custom systems and continue to send out hundreds of thousands of email (yes, opt-in) for our clients every year.

More often than not, spending the amount of time I do with various digital marketing practices, I am highly critical of corporate Internet Marketing practices as they are often poorly constructed, lack an effective blend of design and usability and are (at best) minimally effective. Should I tell you how I really feel? Anyway, Ruth’s Chris paid attention to detail and made sure that the little radio button that said “Anniversary” next to it was attached to this reservation.

So we show up the restaurant at 7:15, right on time. I had completely forgotten about the form I had filled out and was a little confused when the hostess said Happy Anniversary. I thought to myself, ‘umm, were we radiating some kind of love aura that she picked up on?’. Anyway, we said ‘Thank You’, but didn’t think much of it. So next we arrived at our table and there were Rose Petals laid out all over the table. Me, being a master of detail and fine points, had no idea that this was the only table in the restaurant with rose petals all over it. My wife noticed however and (I later found out) she was quite proud of me that I took the time to do something a little extra for our special night.

Shortly thereafter I realized that it was simply the result of a newsletter and a click of a radio button that had created these ‘romantic extras’. I haven’t yet revealed to her that these comments and rose petals did not originate from yours truly, but she will see this blog post.

So, Honey, I love you and Happy 10th Anniversary, but I have to pass some credit to Ruth’s Chris for paying attention to detail and effectively blending their digital efforts with customer service.


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