Your Guest’s experience is dictated by how well (or not) your team is motivated to treat them.
After all, your team on the ground is most responsible for serving your Guests. They are your ambassadors. They ARE your brand to those who are visiting your business.
And if you have a large, decentralized organization, likely the person running the cash register is the person most likely to have the biggest impact on your Customers.
The best way to make sure that you build loyalty with your Guests is to be sure that your front line representatives are delivering excellence when it matters most – right at the point of service.
So, if you want your Guests to receive fantastic service, start with these 4 strategies to inspire your team to deliver when it matters most:
Hire Amazing People: People really don’t change. They just don’t. Remember when you interview folks, you are seeing them at their very best. They will really never be nicer, better groomed, or more prepared. If they are late or look like they rolled out of bed 10 minutes before, that’s how they are going to approach their work. If they haven’t researched your organization or refuse to smile – don’t expect them to be happy or on time with reports. So be sure you take the time to get to know your candidates and watch how they behave. Sure, ask them situational questions and determine whether their answers align with your values; but also see if they open doors for folks, smile easily, and act like a leader. When you seek to hire positive, prepared team members who have solid leadership skills, you will infuse your team with greatness. Never forget that leadership is something that can exist on many levels and you want a group of engaged thinkers who are willing to put their Guests first each day.
Onboard and Train Them: When your team starts work be sure that you take the time to get them started properly. This could mean learning their jobs, being introduced to coworkers, or filling out their new hire paperwork. The reality is that time is tight and you are hiring a new employee because you need them to work. That would stand to reason that you probably need them working RIGHT NOW. It is one of the hardest things to do – to keep an employee on the bench for a bit while you get them ready to serve Guests. It means not letting them start work until they are ready. taking time to tour them around their work spaces, and making them feel comfortable with their role. It matters because those Associates who feel good about the job they have taken will be more likely to show their Guests the love. When your team is comfortable and confident with their skills they will approach service with a whole different mindset. It makes it easier to put Customers first and do the little extras that make the difference.
Treat Them With Real Care: Team members who feel valued are going to give much better service than those who don’t. This means different things for different folks but there are a couple of key moves that can help drive success here. Remember that each one of your employees is an individual and may have a different slant on how they like to be led. This goes beyond generational preferences (although those matter, t00) into something deeper. We all like to be led in different ways, respond differently to critique, and learn with varying styles. Your team wants to feel valued, which is why active listening is so key to success. If you can’t begin by paying attention to your team, you’ll never truly engage them and you’ll miss out on their great ideas. You have to pay attention for things that might be inconveniencing them and also ensure that all the tools they need are available. Nothing disengages a team more quickly than a leader who won’t listen or a business that asks them “to figure it out” rather than solving problems. Finally, make sure that your recognition is timely, specific, and heartfelt. When you take the time to recognize great work and ensure that it is given in the moment and identifies clearly what made the behavior so amazing it will inspire your team to do it over and over again.
Inspire Positivity: If you want to inspire fantastic service, start with an optimistic approach. It is so easy to let discontent seep into your organization that you have to guard against it daily. Whether it be national events, daily stress, or the typical nonsense that occurs in businesses, negativity can take hold without much notice. Being positive – even in the face of adversity – is a quality that great leaders share. It is infectious and something that can inspire team members to push harder for solutions and spend less time lamenting about things being “unfair.” When a majority of the organizational energy is spent on figuring out how to win rather than worrying about losing, that can lead to smiles and energy that naturally impacts Guests. Customers can feel when folks aren’t happy in a business and they often choose not to subject themselves to organizations that bring them down.
So keep in mind these core values and you’ll find that your team will be more likely to step up with Guests.
This translates into both performing their jobs to the best of their ability and doing the little extras that can set you apart.
I remember the last time I stayed at my favorite hotel in Philadelphia. After the first 2 days of asking for extra coffee pods for my in room brewer, I came back to the room to find a well stacked pyramid of coffee pods waiting for me. For the rest of my stay I never had to ask for coffee again. Now I didn’t mind stopping by the front desk each night on my way back – and they happily encouraged my caffeine addiction – but this was a nice little gesture. I know it sounds like a little thing, but it made my night. I won’t even consider another hotel when I am in that area.
So remember, treat your team well and they will treat your Guests like cherished friends.
Customer Experience Leader
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