4 Myths About Customer Service That Will Surprise a New Hotel or Restaurant Owner
Bruce Claver | Insightful Service | January 10, 2023
Mike D. asked Insightful Service, "What are four myths or misconceptions about customer service that will surprise a new hotel or restaurant owner?" Just four, Mike? That's a tough shortlist. But OK. After considerable thought, here is the Insightful Service list of 4 myths or misconceptions about customer service that will surprise a new hotel or restaurant owner:
If You Pour Money Into a Beautiful Property Design, Customers Will Return Over & Over Again
-not without steadfast service standards
Maybe they will come back once or twice but, as soon as the next shiny hotel or restaurant makes its debut, they will play fast and loose with your business by fleeing faster than a one-night stand after hearing the pregnancy results.
Ask yourself, "Does revenue drive customer experience, or does customer experience drive revenue?" Think of the common farmer or yourself if you have a vegetable garden. One doesn't walk out to the field in June and expect to harvest crops. There's a process to be successful. Cultivate the soil, plant the seeds, water the land, fertilize the plants, weed the garden, and then harvest. If the goal of every business is to make money, why then don't business owners appreciate that a guest's experience is directly tied to gross revenue? Give your customers a fabulous and unforgettable experience and won't they look forward to returning again and again? Who wouldn't, but how do you increase repeat business while minimizing churn rate? The magic lies with steadfast service standards. When properly implemented, service standards ensure consistent service execution by all staff and consistent experiences by your customers no matter which team member has come into contact with the customer. Customers will share their experiences (exceptional or terrible) with their online family of friends, whether they have a great experience or not. A fancy facade with exciting decor will attract customers at first but it will not keep customers. It's like finding that hot-looking one-night stand that is exciting at first but if you just don't like the person, the attraction fades after a short time, along with the phone number.
*The beautiful luxury Trump Taj Mahal hotel cost $1.2 Billion to build in 1990 and sold for 4 cents on the dollar ($50 Million) in 2017.
If You Hire Friendly Staff, Your Customers Will Receive Great Service
-not without a documented & properly implemented training program
Test question for you: Which is more important when hiring a new employee? Someone with experience or someone with a positive attitude?" The answer is encrypted here: You can train a monkey to harvest crops but you can't train a monkey to have a positive and friendly attitude. That means, hire people with the right attitude, not the right skill set. Skills are learned. Attitude is inherent. So hiring friendly staff solves everything, right? Wrong. People need direction and by direction, I mean they need to understand exactly what your expectations are. Most people want direction and if you fail to train, you are relying on your staff's personal experiences (outside of work) to dictate how they define and act with your customers. Ask ten of your employees what defines exceptional service and you'll get 11 different answers. That is because not everyone comes from the same background or experiences.
Therefore, you as the owner are tasked with defining the culture and service standards which will result in all your staff meshing as a team in providing consistent service that is branded to your vision.
If You Train Once, Your Staff Will Always Provide Service Your Guests Appreciate
-not without continual & consistent metrics that hold managers & staff accountable
Practice makes perfect. Think of any athlete or sports team. Do they train one time, then kick back? Never. The solution is not just in conditioning the body. The solution is conditioning the mindset. Our bodies (if properly conditioned) can and will do anything we make them do but like athletes, service personnel have to remain focused. This is accomplished by repetitive drills so that actions and behaviors become engrained and routine. But who has time to train all the time, right? Can you spare 5-10 minutes for immediate results? OK then. You got this.
By creating a Standards Test and eavesdropping on your staff while they interact with customers you can gain and provide immediate feedback on their performance. There is no point in taking the time to train someone who then ignores or forgets all the training and goes rogue with their own perceived service standards. It is normal for people to forget 80% of what they learn in training (when the training is not a process of steps.) Hold staff accountable by testing them at least once a month or once quarterly. After you test them, document their score on a spreadsheet. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on training software. In fact, Insightful Service shows you how to create and implement your very own standards tests and employee tracking form like this one that tracks scores and highlights employees who are falling short of expectations or exceeding expectations.
If Your Goal is To Make Profits First and Provide Customer Service Second, You Will Succeed
-Nope. You will fail as your business falls out of the starting gate
Profits are the result of hard work that is focused on establishing expectations through exhaustive and relentless training that must result in exceptional execution of customer care. It takes a certain company culture for your team to experience daily that sets the tone for a certain kind of dedication for your team to execute with every customer interaction. The finest & best possible customer service begins with the CEO who must immerse their team in a culture entirely focused on the complete and unwavering satisfaction of the customer's experience with the products, the services, and those with whom the customer meets and interacts. Expecting profits before training is like expecting your favorite sports team to win a game before holding a practice. Wanna win? Train for the win. Want to be the best? Train every day because that's what winners do. That's what Olympians do. That's what champions do. Exceptional customer service doesn't just happen. It results from leaders who instill the mindset of training within a positive work environment and instill a culture where every policy and procedure is written with one question in mind; "Will this new policy/procedure adversely affect our customers?" If the answer is yes, then the policy/procedure cannot be implemented without first changing how it affects the customer.
Need help starting up a simple training program? Contact Insightful Service for a free template. Be sure to indicate in the message "free template."
Watch for my future "proof is in the pudding" blogs where I give specific examples and case studies of companies that live and breathe the philosophy described above. Of course, there are countless companies that have tried putting profits ahead of customer service experience and have met a terrible fate. I'll provide those case studies as well.
Thanks to Mike D. for this question.