Updated: Oct 7, 2021
Ever been to a shop or restaurant and received lousy or indifferent service? The kind that makes you want to ask the person why they bothered getting out of bed that day or even get a job in customer service if they don’t like talking to people and find it hard being nice, polite and friendly.
We all have and it’s infuriating when it happens. Worse still we often have to pay for that service (or lack of it!). There are so many people that destroy the good name of hospitality and great customer service all because it becomes dependent on the mood of the person providing it.
Too many customer facing people have their mood influenced by what might have happened to them moments earlier or at some point during their day. The mood of their boss, a colleague, family member, previous customers or even someone or something they encountered on their way to work.
There is actually a simple solution for inconsistent service and hospitality. A word and mindset that can be applied to every act of customer service that will ensure that the service provided stands out or better still is outstanding!
That word? UNCONDITIONAL. Unconditional hospitality is when an individual provides the very best service regardless of how challenging the circumstances may be, the mood of the customer, or the mood of the server for that matter. Unconditional hospitality is the level of interest and engagement you offer valued guests, a personal service promise to provide total customer satisfaction, always going above and beyond, which is hard to find these days.
Too often ‘conditional’ hospitality is commonplace in retail and hospitality. Service that is dependent on the server’s personal mood or reaction to the customer they are serving. What do true professionals and the best service providers have in common? They give the best of themselves always and unconditionally.
For example, if a customer is nice and friendly, the server ‘might’ reciprocate. But if the customer is straight faced, serious or matter of fact, the server’s mood often changes and their level of service, interest and engagement. This results in ‘conditional’ hospitality and that’s really not a strategy for success!
I believe when you sign up to provide customer service or hospitality you have an obligation to your industry, your employer, your colleagues, your customer and yourself to be a professional. To be the very best version of yourself regardless of the challenges you are likely to face on any given day. If the customer is not friendly or chooses not to engage in a little conversation – no problem, you should still give them the best service you can and not punish them with indifference or mediocre service.
People from all walks of life are dealing with personal stuff every day that we know nothing about. I’m not endorsing rudeness or grumpy customers, but they just might need a little respite and not additional animosity from someone that doesn’t even know them. Did you ever hear the saying “He who has no smile, needs one most?”
Unconditional hospitality is an attitude not a skill. Even if you’re asked a question to which you do not know the answer, it doesn’t matter. If you’re a professional and take pride in your work, you’ll reply, “I don’t know, but give me just a moment and I’ll do my best to find out.” That’s world class service and it costs nothing - just a little respect for the paying customer. Great service is never wasted, it’s almost always appreciated, usually by the customer, but if not then by the boss and failing that at least you know that you performed to the best of your ability, regardless. It’s called integrity, doing things right even when no one’s looking and I can’t think of a better personal reputation to have.
When we receive fantastic service it feels good, we store that experience in our memory bank and when we need that same feeling again, we naturally return to where we experienced it. That’s called loyalty and trust and is possibly the best business strategy of all time.
True hospitality is unconditional. It’s not based on who or why, our mood or the mood of the customer, it’s simply the way great service and hospitality should be delivered, unconditionally. It’s how we make every experience exceptional and the ability to deliver unconditional hospitality consistently makes you ‘world class!’
This does not just apply to the hospitality industry, but to every business that provides a service, it applies to everyone. So, ask yourself, do you deliver unconditional hospitality?’ If not, you can start today – it’ll change your life and your success. AK
For more ways to inspire your team and enhance your guest experience, let’s have a no obligation video call today. 10 Hospitality - improving brand performance through training, coaching and motivation. www.10hospitality.com