Customer Service Leaders Anticipate Needs
Working in the hospitality industry for over a decade and owning several successful restaurants has given me a good sense of what makes great service people. Most often, it’s a combination of caring and leadership.
Chances are your business services customers. Truthfully, which one isn’t? That means proactively developing a program or process to anticipate the needs of your customers and clients is critical.
Lessons in Service Leadership from the Hospitality Industry
Great leadership in service is about anticipating your customers’ next need, and suggesting it to them before they have to ask. Even the little thoughtful touches can make a big impact with customers.
Ever stay at a hotel where you have had to call down to the front desk repeatedly? Have you ever been to a restaurant where you are constantly asking for attention? “Excuse me, Miss?” It is the norm more often than the exception.
So what is the solution?
Start to look at how you interact with your customers every day and build a list of moments or steps where you can anticipate their needs. Start simple by making a list of what your clients are asking for everyday – just observe and document. If you’re happy with the current relationship you have with your clients, it may be tempting to attempt to branch out to new customers. However, this can do more harm than good. Today’s customers expect more than just a fair price and decent service. Loyal customers want a seamless experience, personalized offers, creativity, proactive service, and more. Fulfilling these expectations will take up a good portion of your time. You must consider your current client base as part of your future initiatives. As well, make sure to give them as much, if not more, attention than your new clients. Loyal customers are your bread and butter.
Review each of the major steps in your customer’s interaction with you and your business. What are the logical peripheral needs at each step? For example, when a customer gets a proposal that is quite technical, it should come with a glossary of technical terms and links to sites they may want to reference. If you are able to predict what your customers need help with, you can amp up your customer service offering. Anticipating what your client will need in advance can put you in a position to offer quicker solutions. As a result, this can generate more revenue as more often, people will choose to pay more for a great customer experience.
This is where MOST companies stop. The next critical piece of customer service is the spirit with which is it delivered. Many restaurants and businesses have their teams going through the steps but their attitude and spirits say “I don’t really care about you or our business.” In addition, great service people have a spirit of care and leadership that oozes from them. It is hard to teach and easier to hire, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying to teach it. Great service moments are when an employee takes initiative with the spirit of helping and caring.
Get creative by asking clients and brainstorming with others about what else you could offer. Clients come to the office and you offer coffee or water. However, are you making sure to pay attention to other choices like the mugs, the condiments, the details of each step?
Most importantly, start to implement these things! Evaluate the cost of each new idea first. Then look at bringing one new idea into the program each month, paying attention to how much change clients and staff can incorporate into their routines comfortably. Change is inevitable and necessary, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, especially for your employees and customers. When implementing new ideas, you must communicate it successfully so your plans work as they should.
First, explain the reasoning or need behind the change. Explain what goals you are looking to achieve with these changes, and how it will benefit all parties. Often, people only take changes seriously if it would appear to affect them. Second, get your idea to be publicly supported by leadership. Appoint an influential employee to champion the change you want to implement. Positive peer-pressure combined with good training can get your business far.
Build that extra service into the process so it’s standardized. It’s pointless to wow customers with an amazing experience on one visit only to let them down on the next. Make sure to ask for feedback on each new step and ensure people are loving it. Ask questions that will elicit helpful feedback, as well as follow up questions to keep them engaged. In addition, make sure that when you are proactively reaching out to customers, you address them by their first name. Be sincere, and you are more likely to receive genuine feedback.
At Evolve Busines Group, our philosophy is that any business can move from good to great with the right tactics, strategies, and most importantly, smooth implementation. Combining practical techniques with impactful strategies, our proven tactics have been successfully tried and tested in the field. Evolve has worked with over 645 businesses and over 1450 staff teams in various industries, and has helped grow leaders and their companies.
Through hands-on coaching and training, we ensure that action and accountability are in place to create a successful and effective organization. For a free consultation, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +1-403-836-3023 today.