The Hospitality operator’s premise must be that what the Guest says we are, we are. Therefore, the more we know about our Guest and share with our staff, the better they will perform. Our employees are the ones who deliver on our promise. This is very easy to say, but very hard to accomplish in the current business environment. But, try you must, keeping in mind that everything comes back to the Guest, the patron, the visitor! Bring your staff together and begin to “hammer out” some dimensions they can relate to and advantage in their engagement of the customer.
Start by knowing about your Guest. Certainly, the establishment has some means to gather feedback, that response from your Guest. It may be merely comment cards or a more sophisticated automated system. It is critical to know who your Guests are - age, type (big difference between a college oriented crowd and the professional), where you draw them from, etc. You are gaining customer insight, essentially creating a working Guest profile. Know your position in the marketplace – who is your competition within the neighborhood, even a 30 mile radius. The economy has been brutal, so you know already that your consumer is bruised and bloodied, but what else do they seek beyond a safe, comfortable sanctuary? Are they interested merely in a dollar value, perhaps excitement and fun? As a given, you know they require a certain level of courtesy, respect and effort made to feel special.
There is an old “saw” – it is easier to retain an existing customer than attract a new one. That works, especially if your turn your current fans into raving and roving (good news travels quickly) ambassadors for the Brand. With all this preliminary work, you are beginning to bring it home and directly involve your staff as partners.
Now, at your door step, what do you see and feel? Time to take a hard look at the facility, the product and the service! What is the shape of the exterior and interior (chipped paint, dirty carpet, etc.)? Is the ambiance suffocating (too loud, too dark, too cold)? And, the real basic – overall cleanliness, especially the restrooms. Now, move to the product – preparation and presentation. Lastly, we look at the true differentiator – service – and how everyone manages their moments of truth – the “touch points”.
Wow, that is a lot of work. What’s in it for me, your staff member? You better have this answer. Start with job security, maintaining current shifts, continuing, even elevated gratuities. The business prospers, so do the employees. You and your team of partners have minimized weaknesses, emphasized strengths, engendered Guest loyalty and boosted return business, resulting in improved sales, productivity, and profitability. Not a bad effort!
Permission for reprint provided by John Hendrie and credited to LRA Worldwide Inc.
About LRA Worldwide, Inc:
LRA Worldwide is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability.
In LRA's 25-year history, we have grown from a provider of customized quality assurance evaluation programs for the hospitality industry, to a leading CEM consulting company offering a variety of client solutions. The evolution has been driven by our clients asking us one question - "How do we get better?" In response, we have built a range of performance measurement, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so. Today, we are a growing company operating in more than 120 countries throughout the world, helping clients deliver exceptional customer experiences. Every touch. Every time. For more information, visit us at www.LRAworldwide.com.
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