How to create an ‘Awesome’ customer experience and keep them coming back!

Are you paying attention to the ‘little things’.... the devil is in the detail

More often than not it’s the little details the customer recalls even more than the service or product they received or purchased.  Those little details make customers feel good because they realise that if you’re paying attention to those little things, you must be paying attention to the bigger ones too.  They will feel more confident about their decision to visit your restaurant, hotel or business; therefore they will be more relaxed and enjoy the experience a whole lot more. 

Here are 5 ways to go above and beyond good customer service, boost customer loyalty and create an Awesome Customer Experience.

1. Recognition

It goes without saying that you need to greet your customer as soon as possible... even at busy times just a quick look in their direction, get eye contact and let them know you will be with them as soon as possible.  If you can get a colleagues attention then do so or gesture them to a table.  The key is make sure your staff pay attention at all times, there is nothing worse than having your customers stand around and think they are invisible.

To go one better if you can greet your customer by name, this makes your customer feel more special and not just another ‘bum on seat’ or ‘body in a bed’.  If you have bookings then this can be a little easier as you have a better idea that the group of four people who just came in the door could be your 7.30 table booked by Mr Jenkins.  If not then have your staff introduce themselves and then ask for the name.  Then have them make sure that whoever is dealing with that table knows the name.

2. Attentiveness

Train your employees to become hyper attentive, train them to take note and become masters of detail.  When they are taking bookings, have them ask questions about the booking, is it a special occasion? Are their young guests or older guests?  By taking down these details you can tailor each booking to the individual requirements.  Such as if the party has some older aged guests they might need to be placed at a table that is easier to access and away from noisier parts of the restaurant.  If it’s a birthday or celebration, who is the guest or guests of honour, what can you do to make them feel special?  For younger guests do you have activity packs that are appropriate for their age?

You should even train your staff to be observant and vigilant when your customers are in situ.  If they suddenly discover that a particular guest doesn’t like a certain food or has an allergy, when they go to take an order, before being prompted they should mention they can remove or make certain dishes in a certain way.

The key is once you have this information, use it and make sure it is communicated to the appropriate people.

3. Personalisation

Is there anything you or your team can do to ensure your customers know that you not only pay attention to their preferences, but remember them and cater to them for each and every visit?

If you can personalise an experience to your customer’s requirements and have a way to have this information on hand every time they visit it adds real value and instils an enormous amount of loyalty. 

I used to have a regular guest at my hotel who liked a particular room, always asked for an extra towel during his stay and had the Times newspaper each morning.  Once we knew this whenever he booked we would do all we could to ensure he always had that room, the housekeeper would be notified to leave an extra towel in the room and the newspaper would be ordered without asking the guest.

4. Consideration

Do you or your staff walk customers to the door and open it for them as they're leaving?  Do you offer to order your guests a taxi?  If you don’t have low sinks in your toilets, put a step in for your younger customers to stand on.  If you have a lot of business customers in your coffee shop, restaurant or hotel that are regularly using laptops, tablets and phones etc, why not have a selection of chargers they can borrow if needed. 

One hotel I worked with had a box of ‘stuff’ in each conference room that had in it a stapler, highlighter pens, post-it notes, even a couple of ties and safety pins were put in and this was included free.

5. Appreciation

How do you do to show your customers that you appreciate them?  After all, there are probably several other businesses that they could go to rather than yours.  Do you show the customers that you value and appreciate their business? Feeling appreciated is an experience that is meaningful.

You could invite regular, loyal customers to a new menu launch; this has the added benefit of being a great marketing tool but also getting valuable feedback.  You could hold have an invitation-only event one evening and give "VIPs" an additional X percent discount.

Always be sure to let them know that you are extending this extra to them because they are a valued customer and you want to show them that you appreciate them.

The little things add up to a lot

Exceeding the customer expectation with these little gestures create a meaningful and memorable experience for your customers.  They will perceive your business in a better light and feel better about returning in the future.  It’s so easy to overlook these little details, tempting to brush them off as unimportant, insignificant and not essential to your business.

But add a number of seemingly minor details together, and you end up with something of far greater value than you would without them.

It's the little details that keep customers coming back over and over, it's the little details that cause a customer to rationalize paying more because they feel they are getting more, it's the little details that keep people talking about you and recommending you.

We can all get the big things right; it's the little things that differentiate your business from the next and influence customers choices.  Don’t cut out the little details when times get tough, this is a big mistake.  So much can be done for very little as attentiveness, recognition, personalisation and consideration really cost nothing.

If you need advice or help in your hospitality business then contact me now, I specialise in coaching and mentoring you and your team to perform better making your business more successful and profitable.

Contact me now to arrange a free consultation meeting or skype call

JON BUTLER - OutSauced Consultancy

+44 (0) 7775 746145