Meet some stars of service – and learn how to make the most of their skills.
Sammy is a middle-aged bellman working in a luxury Hotel in Downtown Seattle. Sammy has an infectious smile and an outgoing personality that lets the customer know that he is there for them. When a car pulls up to the valet stand, Sammy is ready to greet the new arrival while holding the door open and smiling.
He is warm and friendly while soliciting the guests name and welcomes them on their stay.
He uses some probing questions to solicit just enough information that will give him that one clue that he needs to make sure the guest’s stay is that much more special.
- If he overhears them talk about their anniversary; Sammy takes a mental note and remembers to request a bottle of champagne to their room after check-in.
- If he over hears that it is their first time in Seattle; Sammy will return with a map and suggest some points of interest or a nice restaurant to eat at.
- If a guest orders room service; Sammy will be meticulous in preparing everything just right and never forgets to smile.
Sammy is a superstar who has a keen instinct for what people want. The guests love to compliment him and give him tips. As a result, they remember their experience when Sammy takes care of them.
She Remembers My Coffee
I live in the Seattle area which means I have a choice of many retail coffee shops. A block from my house I have a choice of 5 different coffee places including one with pretty girls dressed in bikinis. I usually choose another one; the Big Foot Java Drive-In on 8th street in Auburn. I go there for one reason, because I will usually get this one girl who always gets it right.
I may have not visited for a few weeks or even a month, but when I pull in, she remembers what I want. I even switch up my order once in a while and she remembers my different choices. “So would you like the 16 oz. non-fat Mocha today, or the Vanilla Latte – no whip?”
My wife goes to the same place in her own car and also has had the same experience. I was disappointed to know that I wasn’t so memorable and cute that the girl would remember me; it is just what she does. It is what makes me and others a loyal customer of that place.
It is impossible to hire an entire staff of Sammys or make sure every employee has a photographic memory like the coffee shop girl. These stories merely serve as an example of what your staff should strive for on some level.
The above people stand out for their incredible ability to be perceptive of the needs of their customers. When I train people on customer loyalty I like to tell these kinds of stories as an example of what a customer focused employee can attain.
Not all employees take this to heart. As we all know of the transient nature of the service business; many employees are “just passing through” on their way to somewhere else. But, there are some ways to duplicate the above in all your employees:
- Take the best of what you can, by trying to look for some of the attitudes, instincts and traits in your hiring practices.
- Create an “end result image” of what the customer experience should look like to your employees.
- Look for your employees to do something right. Encourage and reward outstanding behaviors and pass on compliments freely.
Creating greatness of service through your people is the only way to achieve all business objectives. Great people inspire greatness in others. So try to find those people in the crew that demonstrate some of the above qualities and make them feel appreciated and special and give everyone examples to live up to.
I challenge you to try it as an experiment in human behavior and track your results.
About the Author
Donn Kirst is a customer loyalty and leadership trainer. Donn has spent the past many years of his life studying from the masters of personal development, leadership, and customer loyalty. In addition he loves to learn from hospitality organizations that “wow” the customers. He currently works and trains with some of the most prestigious customer service orientated service businesses in the world. The mission of his training organization is to help transform businesses through helping to shift the way people think, believe, and act.