4 things to master for ensuring we do not disappoint our guests
Guests' delightment has been the focus in our industry for many years. Giving more than they expect, going an extra mile, wow’ing them and similar are often used intentions in our daily lives. Although they are all utterly correct, to ensure their magic affect we need to do the main job first. To engrave our name into the guests’ minds, we firstly need to learn how to write.
Fulfilling guests’ expectations and our promises is the starting point of a journey. Many recent researches, some of them perfectly detailed in the book The Effortless Experience written by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman and Rich DeLisi, explain, how the delivery on basic promises is the key to our guests’ loyalty. In other words - first things come first - executing the basics and giving the guests what they paid for and what the business promised is the most important. After all, we would probably all agree, that a wring food order or overbooking will barely be the right way to start delighting our visitors.
So here are 4 things to follow for ensuring we do not disappoint our guests from the very beginning:
Knowing the guests
Not only demographic market segmentation data, but knowledge about their behaviour and preferences. Ability to understand their emotional journey and actions or needs based on it. Researching, talking to the guests, analysing their feedback (online and offline) can help us gain better knowledge. Growing the data base of information about the guests gives us tools to understand them better and deliver personalised, unique experience.
Understanding and managing expectations
We have all seen expectations vs. reality jokes on the internet - need to ensure we don’t land as an example of them.
What seems to be easy from theoretical point of view, is however very challenging in practise. Like William Shakespeare said, “expectations is the root of all the heartache”. Due to our un-met expectations we face disappointment, anger and other negative emotions both in our private lives or as consumers.
The biggest challenges with guests expectations is that rarely we can fully predict them 100 proc. Everybody has their own unique perspective, so even when having exactly same experience, people might still feel differently. So to start with, it is important to understand, how are guests expectations formed, as well as focus on the things we can influence, such as: our marketing, reputation and price.
Managing guests’ expectations in daily interactions is another important competency to master. From certain communication skills to psychological tricks - learning how to deal with guests on the spot in certain situations also helps us turn interactions and outcome our direction.
Knowing the product
Fulfilling guests’ needs without knowing our product inside-out can be a challenging task. When, what, how long, how much, etc. - knowing relevant information about everything what is needed for service encounter should be everyone’s responsibility. Well informed staff not only has an ability to better manage guests’ expectations on the spot, but can also save time or enhance guests’ experience with extra sales (so generating income for the business!). It probably goes without saying, that a waiter, who does not know what the dish contains of will be less appreciated than the knowledgeable one.
Organisation and operation efficiency
After knowing well the guests, understanding their expectations and having rich knowledge about our product, it is time to put it all in practice with well organised and structured operations. Effective work organisation with defined processes and procedures, clear job roles and responsibilities ensures successful delivery. People need to understand how things are done and why, what is their part in the “show” or what has to happen in case of unexpected circumstance. When planning our operations we need to prevent any confusion or uncertainty, ensure our teams feel confident with the process and train them when needed.
Mastering these 4 elements helps us fulfil our guests’ needs, expectations and our promises, and gives us a solid foundation to implement other elements of the FACTs principle, so creating memorable experiences for our guests and growing our business.