Your staff’s enthusiasm leads to guest happiness. Happiness leads to satisfaction. Satisfaction leads to repeat visitation. Repeat visitation leads to advocacy. Advocacy leads to loyalty. Loyalty leads to a higher lifetime value of your guest, and higher LTV leads to substantially higher revenue.
Yes, enthusiasm equals revenue.
Maintaining enthusiasm is one of the best ways to exceed guests’ expectations. In order to yield consistent enthusiasm from your staff, you must build enthusiasm into your culture, and never assume that your staff will intrinsically start sharing their energy and passion with your guests without first being guided.
When fostering a culture of enthusiasm, focus on incorporating each of the following seven measures into your operation:
Lead by example. It starts with you. It’s one thing to talk the talk, but can you walk the walk? Regardless of your role within your organization, if you wish to see ongoing enthusiasm from others, you must practice it and demonstrate it on a daily basis. If the goal is for your staff’s enthusiasm to spill over onto your guests, then the enthusiasm from leadership must spill over to all staff. Your job is to model the behavior that you expect from others. If you want to see it done, show them how to do it best.
Observe and respond. When you spend most of your time back of house, you miss your employees in action. Be where your guests are to lead by example and be where your employees are so that you can regularly observe behavior, and jump in to give pointers as necessary. Giving feedback to employees is a critical part of ensuring consistency, so that any incorrect behaviors can quickly be remedied, and exemplary behavior can grow upon itself.
Recognize and reward. What gets recognized gets repeated. If your rock stars aren’t recognized for being rock stars, they will quickly fade into the background. Share with your staff your own excitement for their enthusiasm, and make sure they know why they did such a great job. If you have a recognition program that rewards these types of moments, make it your job to reward your staff whenever possible. Rewards and incentives can be monetary, but they don’t need to be. Thanking the employee with genuine sincerity gives a boost of confidence that will lead to the next enthusiastic moment.
Offer support. Leaders work for their employees, not the other way around. If an employee is not being enthusiastic, that’s on you, not on them. If they’re having a bad day, or a frustrating moment, and you’re able to cover for them or have them relieved, give them that break to recharge. Even 15 minutes can be enough for someone to clear their head and get back in the game, but if it’s bigger than that, maybe they need to head home for the day. Sending an employee home for not demonstrating enthusiasm shouldn’t be avoided if it’s necessary, and also shouldn’t be seen as punishment; they aren’t benefiting the guest, their team, and most importantly themselves by not being able to be fully present.
Encourage personal enthusiasm. Allowing your team to create their own way of communicating with guests turns into a blend of delivering a personalized experience, allowing staff to share their enthusiasm, and it makes the required remarkable. Let them come up with their own ways to create a unique experience, meaning it might be different from one staff member to the next. This adds value to the guest experience, because tying in the personal touch shows that the experience should not be robotic or scripted. That leads to the next point…
Eliminate the script. Requiring for a script to be read verbatim is the best way to kill enthusiasm. If there are specific words or phrases that must be communicated, indicate what verbiage cannot be altered, and leave the rest open for your staff to find their own way of phrasing what needs to be phrased. Give them guidelines and point them in the direction of what needs to be said, asked, communicated, or offered, and allow for each employee to come up with their own enthusiastic way to deliver it. Reading a dry script word for word is worse than redundant – it’s boring. Think of a flight attendant delivering safety instructions. Who do you pay attention to more, flight attendants who read the exact words that passengers need to hear, or the ones who have fun with it while getting across all the required key messages?
Share inspiring examples. Don’t assume that your staff knows exactly how to maintain energy and to create enthusiastic moments for guests. Give them specific examples on how they can share their enthusiasm with their guests, based on what you’ve done, what you’ve seen, or what you would like to see. Share these in pre-shift meetings, through internal communication channels, and during impromptu conversations so that they can see into your mind. Make sure to stress that it’s not about what they have to do, it’s about what they get to do.
Your culture of enthusiasm is a critical component of your guest service culture. At its core, your employees must want to show their enthusiasm for your guest experience, otherwise they may not be a culture fit. Your service standard should not be “show your enthusiasm or else,” but rather should naturally be shared based on the passion that you and your employees have for what you do. When passion is the key characteristic in each employee, the enthusiasm becomes natural, and even when it becomes routine and ordinary, it does not become redundant.