How does your business ensure the customer is at the heart of every decision made? As a senior leader do you take pride in your management team’s knowledge, passion and consistency? Does your business adopt a culture of hospitality, doing more than expected? Does the entire management team know their core purpose, which is surely to ensure that every customer leaves happy? This is the key to building a successful business regardless of what industry you are in.
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions yet would love your team and your business to be even better, then read on. After the year we’ve endured, there will be only one winner in business in 2021 and beyond and that’s culture. If you adopt a culture of kindness with impassioned leadership, putting your team’s personal development first, you’ll soon be on the road to recovery.
Following years of hard work, good luck and learning from some of the best in the industry, I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed what to many looks like success. But I’m not sure our measure of success is the same. Success to many is how much you earn, the position you hold and the freedom to make your own decisions. I should add that I don’t think success is the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you can wake up every day, happy, loving what you do and making a difference to other people’s lives, then to me that’s success and if true, then I’m successful! Ironically, the happier you are at work, the more likely you are to achieve perceived success, such as earning more, climbing the leadership ladder and ultimately enjoying the freedom to write your own future.
In starting 10 Hospitality it was my desire to continually develop and improve both myself and others. Hospitality and great customer service is not a science, it’s a feeling, it’s about caring, it’s about kindness and taking pride – resulting in strangers becoming friends, increased customer loyalty and business growth. Promoting the importance of unconditional hospitality, together with purpose and professionalism is paramount.
I thought I would be sharing my knowledge of having led teams at the opening of more than 70 restaurants and training aspiring managers on the daily fundamentals of good restaurant management. Yet what transpired was I was sharing a myriad of essential leadership qualities, skills and behaviours that motivate and help us succeed. Not only how to serve but how to engage, how to recruit, how to train, how to coach, how to communicate and how to inspire. Always putting the customer at the heart of every decision made.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the theatre and the magic of a dining experience, but what lockdown has reminded me is that everything I've ever learnt and everything I share has little if nothing to do with food and drink! I'm not in the food business serving people, I'm in the people business serving food! I'm not sharing restaurant fundamentals, I'm sharing life skills, business skills and essential management values. I'm bearing my soul and sharing my own core values which when mastered become invaluable leadership traits.
So why the post? Well my motivation and everything I know and care about is about helping others find happiness in their jobs (team, management and owners) and them achieving success both personally and professionally.
What struck me recently is that every business regardless of their industry aspires to achieve the same thing – total customer satisfaction. We’re all in customer service, serving someone or something and usually for a fee, restaurants, retail, business services, the list is endless.
Customer service is the common denominator, yet truly memorable and exceptional service is rare, the kind of service so good that you feel compelled to tell someone about it. When did you last receive service that good, that simply blew your mind? Maybe when you took your car for a service or your last visit to the supermarket? Maybe when you recently called your broadband or mortgage provider or at a department store, hotel or builder’s depot. The opportunities to deliver a world class customer experience is unlimited. Yet I’m certain you’ll agree, truly exceptional service is rare. Strange don’t you think, given that your customers are still your most powerful source of advertising? If only everyone in customer service adopted a culture of giving more than expected!
I’ve worked in the hospitality business for more than 25 years and take enormous pride in sharing my passion, positivity and optimism in pursuit of delivering a perfect customer experience. Now some people say that perfect cannot always be achieved, possibly not, but I think it’s important to set the bar high and strive to achieve the very best you can every day. In the world of hospitality and customer service how can we aim for anything less?
For me, perfect was not always achieved, but more often than not I would get damn close. From the outset I adopted a customer obsessed approach that somehow is now ingrained in my personality, which has fueled my passion to make a difference, not so much in the world but in people's lives that I meet.
Just imagine your team’s potential if they ALL recognized the value of their contribution and how important they are to both your businesses success and their own happiness? As an eternal optimist I believe everyone has potential and it’s our role as leaders to own this responsibility and unlock that potential. Only when we put others first can we enjoy true happiness and ultimately success.
10 Hospitality is a training, coaching and motivation consultancy supporting all industries with management & leadership development, team engagement and great customer service. Find out more at www.10hospitality.com AK