Ambience. Atmosphere. Vibe. Every business has one. Some are formal, some laid back. Some welcome you with proverbial shouts and others make you feel like an inconvenience. In today’s competitive marketplace, this aspect of your customer experience is just as important, if not more, than the logo you promote.
When you eat at Joe’s Crab Shack in Vancouver, Washington you will likely meet Whitney. She’s a student at Portland State University and has been calling this eatery “home” for the last five years.
So, why mention this business or employee specifically? Because her service made me want to tell you about my experience. And part of your business strategy should be to hire/build a team that makes your customers talk for all the right reasons.
While we know there is no such thing as perfect employees or perfect service, there is a discipline to reach for consistency. Interested in creating remarkable experiences your customers want to talk about? Check out these three ways Whitney stands out:
#1 She wanted to be there.
You can’t fake this stuff. Why? Because eventually through a sigh, tone or nonverbal cue, real emotion always slips through. Whitney greeted us promptly after we were seated, asked us if we had visited “her” restaurant before, then told us about some great new features on the menu we just “had” to try. In your world, can you say same for every member of your team? If yes, then great! Continue to encourage them and give them a reason to want to be there. If no, figure out why. Are part of the reason or is it them? Either way, address it. You can’t afford to let them near your customers.
#2 She knew her stuff.
As we explored the menu, Whitney asked specific questions to narrow our search. Regardless of our tastes, she knew exactly where to go in the menu to not only give us options but describe them in a delicious way. Truthfully, we wanted a sample of everything on the menu based on her descriptions. What about your product or services? How well does every member of your team know the what and how of what you provide? For Whitney, she had tried everything on the menu. In your world, what could that look like?
#3 She never stopped providing service.
The atmosphere was fun and the food was delicious. In many restaurants, that’s where the heavy service stops – apart from a drink refill. This was not the case with Whitney. She found that perfect balance of allowing us to enjoy our meal and ensuring we had all we needed. This may sound simple, but the ability to execute that blend requires awareness. Just as Whitney had to be aware when we were seated (so she could greet us), she also had to observe us to determine the right time to approach our table after our meal was served. Too little, and we are abandoned. Too much, and we are annoyed. Awareness. What are you employees watching for and acting upon with your customers. Are they looking for the right things? And if so, how is their balance?
As we left Joe’s, the wait staff was gathering in the dining room to dance to the Macarena. In between seafood dishes and drink refills, these guys and gals were having fun. Sounds like a good vibe to me. What about you? Tell us how you create a special experience for your customers. Come on….we want to talk about it!