It all begins with a thought. Thoughts turn into words, and words turn into behaviors, and behaviors turn into habits. In fact, anything we consistently do will become a habit. Napoleon Hill wrote that “Thoughts are things, and powerful things at that”. It generally takes anywhere from 3-4 weeks of daily repetition to form a habit, but once it’s formed, it is very difficult to NOT do it. The mind doesn’t know if it’s a good or bad habit. Your mind just accepts whatever you feed it, and the habits ensue. To deliver a consistently exceptional service experience, there must be habits that are hardwired throughout your entire team.
A strong service culture is comprised of multiple people who have developed strong service habits. Is it the norm for everyone to escort rather than point directions? Or is it just a few team members who do it? Is it the norm for everyone to learn guest preferences…or anticipate needs…or follow through with resolving guest complaints? Or is it just a few team members?
Exceptional service cannot be dependent on whether a particular employee is working. I don’t know about you, but there are some places I only visit on certain days at certain time periods, because a particular person is working. That is the exact opposite of a strong service culture. No matter who is working, the service should be memorable. No matter what time of day it is, the service should be memorable. No matter if it’s a weekend or weekday, the service should be memorable. No matter if it’s busy or slow, the service should be memorable. Strong habits can supersede individual moods, and push everyone in a common direction.
Often times, people ask me about the first thing they should do to develop a team of people who deliver engaging service. The first thing I tell them is to make service the most important thing on the team. It cannot be equal to any other objective, and it certainly can’t be an item on a to-do list. Every process on your team has to be anchored in service. Basically, anyone should be able to look at ANY of your team members, and see that exceptional service is how the team measures its success. Furthermore, any new employee should be able to immediately tell from the interview that “this team is different from any other team that I’ve been a part of”.
Three habits to embrace
*WOW Somebody: Start your day by asking yourself, “how and who will I WOW today?” By asking yourself that question everyday, it will become a habit. After a while, you will begin assessing each day based on whether you impacted someone’s day in a memorable way. The person you WOW can be a guest, team mate, leader, vendor, family member or a complete stranger. It truly doesn’t matter who the person is. The key is to assume that each person has unconditional worthiness, and treat them accordingly.
*Sign Your Work: There is something very significant about being mindful of your own strengths. Not just being aware of your strengths, but actually paying attention to your strengths while you are using them. So, if you are a natural smiler, be mindful of how you feel when you smile. Be mindful of how others feel when you smile. Deeply appreciate that natural ability, and you will notice how more amplified that strength will continuously become. Signing your work simply means to put your personal stamp on the experience you provide to others. Only you can do certain things the way you do them, because of your unique mix of strengths.
*Be Encouraging: At least once a week, proactively thank a team member for something. It can be a peer, someone you report to, or someone who reports to you. Don’t just “thank them”, but truly go out of your way to find out what makes that person feel appreciated. Is it a hand-written note? A verbal affirmation? Inquiring about a personal hobby? Whatever it is, ensure that the recognition is meaningful and personalized to that individual. By developing the habit of encouraging each other, the team will inevitably respect and appreciate each other more. Each team member will better understand what it feels like to be engaged; therefore, they will be more eager to make their guests feel that way as well. The first step in serving your guests with excellence, is to serve each other with excellence.
So, don’t think about it. Just do it. After all, habits are not bad things; only bad habits are bad things. Good, strong habits are what is needed to turn good to great, and great to exceptional. In the end, all we have to do is wow somebody, sign your work, and be encouraging. Those three habits can revolutionize how you view and treat everyone you are privileged to serve. Before long, you will be on your way to re-earning your customers’ loyalty everyday.