When it comes to building loyalty with your Guests any number of things can have an impact every single day. There are 321 things that have to be right in any business to make Guests happy and any one of them can be a reason why Customers stay with you or dump you for a competitor.
That means that the organizations which pays attention to the little things are more likely to give themselves a fighting chance at securing return visits and engendering loyalty. The very best companies are mindful of this and take steps each day to maximize their smallest details.
In a world that is constantly screaming to pay attention to the big things that grab your attention daily, sometimes you have to dig into the micro-experiences that cumulatively have major impact.
So let’s talk about where and how to dig for these major details.
Watch your cleanliness. You may not think that your Guests notice the dust on your cash registers or the build up on your windows. But they do. A huge dissatisfier for Guests today is lack of attention to basic sanitation. You can turn that impact up to 11 if you play in the healthcare, restaurant, or dependent care spaces. The stakes in these channels for lack of hygiene could be catastrophic, so be sure that you have your act together here. Keep an eye on locations such as washroom and waiting rooms to be sure they are presentable at all times. This also means inspecting ceiling and vents for dust and parking lots for potholes. It is important to keep a running list of items that need to be inspected, cleaned, and maintained to be sure everyone can be involved in the process.
Take the time to walk your spaces. Too often absentee leadership will lead to a breakdown in execution on all levels. The leadership walk or tour of excellence or whatever moniker you slap on it is a key way to be sure that thing stay ship-shape. Your team will care about what you care about and that means taking the time to walk your dirt and own the details. You can involve others who work with you as walking with them will help sharpen their observations as well. It is, after all, a team effort and the more advocates you can deputize into Excellence the better.
Look at the details from the Guest POV. There is no better way to spot potential issues than to ask what a Guest might think of things. It is a great tactic to grab a notebook or your camera and take a walk through your business. When you take a moment to really stop and look at the day-to-day details that impact your Guests, you’ll be able to hone in on what can positively impact the Customer experience. It isn’t enough to just swoop through quickly, you have to take your time and ask of all things “How does this impact the Guest?” Does it make things harder? Do certain things make the experience easier? Are there occasional opportunities for surprise and delight baked into the daily operations? You will only see if windows need to be cleaned or floors polished or apparel standards raised when you step into your Customer’s shoes and take a walk through your organization.
Dig beyond the surface It is easy to make a cursory inspection of your business and then walk away thinking that you really accomplished something impactful. You are fooling yourself if you don’t take the time to do more than just scratch the surface. This is where you make sure that the trash cans are clean or that the couches in the waiting room don’t have dirt and debris in the cushions. This is where you look under things, behind things, above things – in places that folks don’t normally look. You have to really dig deep if you are going to find the dead flies on the window sill, the dying plants, the gum under a table, or the beverages in a cooler that aren’t facing the right direction. I bring that last one up because a great example of attention to detail is the humble convenience store beverage cooler. When you walk into a well run store – such as a Wawa, Sheetz, or RaceTrac, you will see a well-organized beverage area. Typically this consists of many coolers for self-service – and most often, all of the beverage labels are facing the exact same direction and they are organized in an attractive and efficient manner.
Get your team on the case Remember, you can’t own all of the details alone. You have a team for a reason and the best way to ensure amazing attention to details is to deputize the entire team to move the needle. Have a contest for the cleanest area or the best idea to improve a seemingly insignificant (but highly impactful) detail. This is also a place to consider if you are taking the time to make sure details for your team are well taken care of. The convenience store nugget above also brings up a great example of this. Many of the convenience store juggernauts provide a large walk in cooler behind the soda displays to make stocking easier for the team. Not only does the soda go in cold, so Guests rarely get a warm beverage, but it makes it easier to stock without getting in the way of Customers.
When you make things easy for your team, they will translate that into doing more for the Customer.
Overall these 5 strategies are great starts when it comes to delivering fantastic experiences. Remember every single detail shows your Guest a little something about your organization – make sure they are saying the right things.
So take pride in the details. Own then and make them work for you – and not against you. Always assume that every inch of your business is under critique from your Guests and embrace it as a chance to drive deeper loyalty and satisfaction.
Have a powerful, Guest focused day and remember to treat your Customers like cherished friends.
Tony Johnson Guest Experience Leader