When it comes to business, it should be your business to provide exceptional service at every interaction. Whether you're in the hospitality industry or not, instilling a hospitality mindset will set your company apart from the competition and earn you new and repeat business, recruit the best employees and get favorable terms from key vendors.
Here are some tips for instilling a hospitality mindset in everything you, and your organization, does.
Make Them Feel Appreciated
A hospitality mindset is all about making your business partner or prospect feel wanted and appreciated. When someone feels like their business is valued they are more likely to do business with you.
How to do this:
- Answer any phone calls by the first or second ring. Don't leave your customers waiting on hold. If this doesn't fit your working model, hire a virtual receptionist.
- Be attentive when speaking with a customer. In that moment, the customer, not a text message, ESPN alert or even an email from your boss, is what's most important. This will also help you provide better overall service, because you will know exactly what they're asking for.
- Use these five phrases recommended by SmartGuests to let your customers know you appreciate them.
- "It's my pleasure / I am happy to"
- "Thank you / We appreciate"
- "Is there anything else"
- "We're looking forward to"
You may think that using technology is the antithesis of hospitality. However hospitality leaders recognize that their customers want to use high tech / high touch technologies. Lodging chains like Marriott have built guest check-in apps for iPhone and Android devices. Wendy's is moving towards kiosk ordering. And coworking industry giant Industrious Office uses a similar office sign in app to greet visitors, and room scheduling software to manage their conference rooms.
Why? Because your customers don't actually want to talk to you. If it isn't a value-add interaction, they prefer to help themselves. This is true for millennials and baby boomers alike. Yes, this is true for your customers too.
This is great because you want to free up your staff to focus on the interactions that do matter. Like solving partner problems. Or even anticipating them. And adding those memorable extra touches.
Create Memorable Experiences
Memorable experiences come from going above and beyond for your customer. Don't settle for good enough, take extra time with each customer to exceed their expectations.
- Ensure they get the product or service they came in for. If for whatever reason you can't fulfill their need, offer another solution. Don't let them leave empty-handed and disappointed.
- Talk to them about something other than the sale. Customers are people first, so talking to them about their favorite sports team, for example, could brighten their day and make them feel like more than a transaction.
- Do something unexpected. Give your customers a little something extra. If you offer something as simple as a warm cup of coffee or a cold water, you're showing them a kindness that goes beyond what's expected.
Give Them What They Want
The old adage "The customer is always right," isn't always right. Your customer might be misinformed or lack knowledge, but it is your responsibility to provide them with the product or service they're requesting.
- Empower your employees. It can be frustrating for customers to have to wait for managers to give them an answer, by empowering your employees to solve problems and make decisions, you will save your customer and your employees any potential frustration. The Ritz Carlton Hotel famously gives employees $2,000 per day per guest to ensure customer satisfaction. In fact, they have created an entire microsite to the topic.
- Do everything you can to fulfill your customers' needs. In business, it's not about making a single sale, it's about a long term relationship that will bring customers back again and again.
It takes a lot of effort to bring a new prospect into your business. Whether a customer, vendor or great potential employee, you can add a lot more value by creating long-term partnerships over individual transactions.
Create powerful business partnerships with a hospitality mindset. Whether you are in a traditional hospitality field or not, this approach will let your customers will know you are focused on them and feel valued. You can do this by delivering what your partner asks for. Or create memorable experiences and exceed expectations. And don't be afraid of technology. Not only do your customers want to use self-help tools, it frees up your staff to work on the interactions that matter most.