They say "Sex Sells", but in reality, SERVICE sells. An average experience doesn't always keep customers coming back- an Outstanding one does! An outstanding experience not only gains repeat business, it also gains business by word of mouth. Below are some examples of how to achieve that over the top service to help grow your business.
Customer service begins solely with building a relationships. You need to know who your customer is and how to best satisfy them. Ask open-ended questions, show interest in their personal and professional selves, understand the in's and out's of their business. How is your product/service and relationship going to benefit them? And be sure to listen. Take notes. At the end of a social networking event, take the time to write on the back of business cards something specific to that person that you can use as an opening for a sales or follow-up call. Selling your own product or services sometimes requires you to put yourself in their position and see how you can benefit them, not just with your product. (Ex. connect them with other businesses that can also benefit them.) This will show your client that you have an interest in helping the success of their business. Always be sure to note personal information such as anniversaries, birthdays, children's/spouse names, major milestones, promotions, etc in their profile. (You'll thank me later for that.) Another way to obtain information on your current and potential customers is with some time-allotted research. Social media is such a fabulous thing. Explore their websites, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. You may feel like a stalker, but really it's research vital to your relationship.
Having the right team members
Notice I said "team members" as oppose to "employees"... Referring to your employees as team members is just the beginning of having your employees feel more like a unified team. Instill a "If one fails, we all fail mentality." Did you know that U.S. News and World Report found that 68% of customers leave because of bad service? (Super Service by Val & Jeff Gee, 1999) Bad service can stem from a multitude of things. This includes, but is not limited to: Employing the wrong people. Not training you employees. Not sharing with the employees your goals and targets and results. Overworking employees. Not providing employees with the right tools. And not empowering employees. A training that I HIGHLY recommend to anybody that oversees hiring is completing a Behavior Interviewing course. (And check back next week for an upcoming blog with interview tips and sample questions.)
The clients and team are in place... Now what?
Now it's time to WOW! Regardless of your product or service, now is the time to shine. Know exactly what your goals are, have a place in plan to achieve them, communicate them to your team, empower your team to make decisions and go over the top & celebrate your successes. It is vital to any company to celebrate your successes! Even the best of employees will leave you if they are not feeling appreciated, so ensure they feel included. Get out and network! Involve your team in the community. Donate your time and/or product if possible. We know word of mouth is a huge part of business, it's even better if it's associated with a good cause or good deed.
Now for the "Wow" Factor
The difference between your company and your competitor is simple; creating and maintaining a personal connection. Keep a database on you clients and potential clients. Even if this is a simple excel spreadsheet. This should include any obtained information from contact info to birthdays to favorite liquor or candy to follow up dates. Write personal, hand-written notes when possible. Personalize your customers' experience and make it memorable. Lastly, follow-up. Get feedback. And always be on the lookout for ways to improve.
You may have thought there is a "magical solution" to providing superior service, but it really boils down to being passionate, compassionate and caring. Do what you love and prove it. Best wishes to you and your success. Remember that a smile goes a long way. =)
Schedule your own personalized training or speaking seminar at www.NextGenHospitality.us
Lindsay has been leading the hospitality industry for 20+ years. She has worked in hotels ranging from full service to limited service to extended stay; and has held positions that include General Manager, Revenue Manager, Corporate Human Resources, Controller and more. Her passion is SERVICE and it shows! Her enthusiasm and energy is contagious!