After being in the hospitality industry for 9 years, I have a pretty good sense of what makes great service people. Most often it’s a combination of caring and leadership. If your business or job is in customer service (which one isn’t?) then proactively developing a program or process to anticipate the needs of clients is critical.
Great leadership in service is about recognizing what a customer would likely need next and suggesting it to them in advance of them having to ask. 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 with a Miss? or Sir? 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.
- 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.
- 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 - what attention is paid to other choices, 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 - you need to manage how much change clients and staff can incorporate into their routines comfortably. Build that extra service into the process so it’s standardized.
- Ask for feedback on each new step and ensure people are loving it.