Looking for some quick guest service wins? Look no further. The challenge with enhancing your guest experience is that it is an ongoing task that resets every day, with every interaction that you and your staff have with every single guest. Very few guest experience initiatives are “set it and forget it” strategies, but rather a constant reminder that you should regularly focus on going above and beyond.
While your facility should be designed to maximize the experience and your technology should support that, when you focus on operational procedures, enhancing the guest experience does not need to be a costly endeavor. In fact, there are many ways to deliver a superior experience that have no cost to your organization.
Here are 10 free ways to improve your guest experience:
- Learn and use guests’ names. This is a challenge that even the most well-intentioned people have. It takes practice, but when you learn and use your guests’ names it results in a more personalized experience, where in that moment, the guest feels like they are the only ones that matter. It builds rapport, and the guest feels like they’re making a friend rather than just interacting with another employee. Here are some memory hacks to help remember names.
- Go beyond the checklist in your dialogue. Operational excellence is based on consistency of service delivery; however, the challenge is that it can often be routine and on occasion, even redundant. Once the checklist is complete (i.e. the questions you need to ask, the recommendations you need make, or the safety notifications you need to deliver), amp up your interaction by asking the guest about themselves, or engaging in further conversation. It’s harder to do when you’re busy and focused on efficiency, but even small remarks, like acknowledging a guest’s shirt or hat are ways to go beyond the checklist.
- Make recommendations. You know your venue better than your guests. Your staff knows the venue better than your guest. Use this expertise to help guests have the best experience they can have, based on what you know about your venue, and what you learn about the guest in front of you. The more specific the recommendation, the better, especially when it is connected with what the guest desires. This is also a great way to drive revenue and per capita spending.
- Offer additional assistance. This is simple and super effective, yet so easy to overlook. At the end of each interaction, ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” or, “If you need anything else during your visit, don’t hesitate to find me and ask. I’m happy to help.” This small but hospitable gesture shows your guests that you are committed to seeing to it that their needs are met, and if there is risk of a poor experience, that you’re willing and able to jump and save the day when necessary.
- Answer questions your guests don’t know to ask. If you and your staff are the experts of your venue and the experience you offer, then guests don’t always know what they don’t know, and they don’t know what questions to ask. Anticipate their needs by identifying what they might need to do that they aren’t asking for, and offer the information before it turns into a poor experience that could easily be avoided.
- Offer full, undivided attention. When interacting with any guest, remain free of distractions so you can focus on the guest in front of you. Just like learning your guests’ names and going beyond the checklist, being committed to the guest shows that they are the only ones that matter at that moment. Make eye contact, don’t interrupt, and show the guest that whatever it is you are helping them with, that you’re fully committed.
- Join in your guests’ celebrations. When you look at your guests’ visit as a celebration, it truly sets the tone for the service that you can deliver. While some celebrations are more obvious than others (birthdays, holidays, anniversaries), every guest is visiting for one reason or another: reuniting with friends and families, getting straight A’s on a report card, military personnel coming home, or even beating cancer. Big or small, these events are worth celebrating, and by celebrating your guests you show that they came to the right place to celebrate.
- Be more enthusiastic than your guests. Think of how enthusiastic your guests can possibly be to be visiting you. Now top that. When the enthusiasm of the staff is higher than the enthusiasm of the guest, it demonstrates a strong company culture where employees have a strong desire to come to work, and guests sense it. When guests see that employees are enjoying their jobs, it has a significant positive impact on the guest experience.
- Thank your guests for visiting. Showing appreciation for your guests’ visit cannot be understated. Just like showing your enthusiasm, thanking your guests for visiting goes a long way in showing that you are excited to host them. When you treat guests like people you are hosting in your home, it demonstrates the hospitality nature of your culture, rather than looking at them simply as customers who are bringing in revenue.
- Extend an invitation to return. End each guest’s visit with an invitation to return. By expressing your desire for them to visit again, you demonstrate a favorable lasting impression that lingers with the guest on the drive home and plays a strong role in how your guests reflect on their visit. Reflection should then lead to preparation and anticipation for their next visit, which sets the stage for guest loyalty.
There are many more than these 10 ways to improve the experience, but by incorporating each of these elements in your culture and training, you will see immediate effects that include guest satisfaction and higher service scores. Once this foundation is in place, take it to the next level incorporating “wow” moments at every opportunity.
Improving the guest experience is driven by your culture of hospitality and commitment for your guests to have a superior experience.