We’re all familiar with the sayings about a first impression: a first impression is a lasting impression, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, you only get one chance to make a first impression, it will form a lasting impression within the first seconds, etc. So does that mean if you make a great first impression that’s all you need to do?
We sometimes put so much energy into a positive first impression that we then forget all about the lasting impression. What is the impression that stays with your guests when they leave your hotel? What will be the lasting memory that stays with them when they’re thinking about booking their next visit, telling their friends or colleagues about their stay, or telling the world on review sites about their experience?
These are the three ways to be proactive:
Ask for their feedback
If what you have provided fails to meet expectations wouldn’t you rather know about it before the guest leaves? Simply relying on reviews, questionnaires or a visitor’s book when your customers leave is not only impersonal, but is leaving it a bit too late if things weren’t perfect. Face-to-face feedback will always be the most effective, but making a hurried statement such as “I hope everything was OK” as the guest checks out doesn’t do much to demonstrate that you’re really interested in the feedback and finding out how they feel about their stay. Make it easy for your customers to give you useful feedback by asking specific questions that will give something more than a yes or no. Open questions starting with how or what are the most useful; for example how would you rate …, how could we improve on …, what did you like most about …
Talk to your customers throughout
Of course leaving a lasting impression doesn’t mean only showing your interest when they leave. Being visible in your business, and making contact with your guests throughout their stay builds rapport and trust. Once you’ve gained this you’re in a far better position to identify guests’ needs and expectations and gain valuable feedback first hand. The same goes for your staff too, so encourage them to talk to your customers. Give them the appropriate training to ask for feedback in the knowledge that they are confidence to deal with it – good or bad – in a positive way.
Accept that from time to time things will go wrong; there may be occasional delays at breakfast, you’ll get power cuts, you might run out of their favourite tipple in the bar, fellow guests or deliveries may disturb your guests in the early hours, something may get overlooked by housekeeping. Most of our guests are reasonable, and they understand these things happen too, just as long as you’re prepared to listen, empathise and do something about it to resolve the situation and not allow them to leave with a bitter taste in the mouth.
The sooner problems are identified, the easier before they have a chance to fester. Be observant and look out for signs that things aren’t right or that someone wants to get your attention. Picking up a problem early on and dealing with any complaints (justified or otherwise) in a positive way before a guest leaves ensures you can not only deal with it before other guests experience the same problem, but ensures the affected guest has an opportunity to get it resolved to their satisfaction before telling the world about it.
Tomorrow we’ll look at those little touches which add the wow factor……………….
Delivering outstanding customer service generally stems back to getting people engaged, enthused and focused. This is what the Leading for Peak Performance 29 Day Challenge is all about, and starts on 29th February https://www.naturallyloyal.com/coaching/leading-for-peak-performance-29-day-challenge/