Who can appreciate the season of Thanksgiving better than those of us in the service industry? Truly, no one. We know the service we provide can make a difference in someone’s day all year long, but why is it then, that the true art of giving thanks is sometimes lost?
We considered this very question when we examined the guest service levels for Sodexo’s be… corporate restaurants, and what steps we could take to evolve our service to even greater heights. In doing so, I reached out to a close friend from my days working at the Walt Disney Company. After reviewing our combined 40+ years of guest service, we summed it up in three points:
One: Thanks is the “last act” that folks remember. Ever notice if the “last act” is a “wow,” the audience applauds the whole performance? This simple truth gives focusing on guest service a new light: with the end in mind, literally and figuratively. To underpin the importance of the “last act,” Sodexo hangs a “be…thanked” sign at every register in our award-winning be…restaurants globally to encourage that simple “last act” of giving thanks.
Two: In a world of B2B and B2C marketing, C2C REINS king. That is, customer to customer marketing. C2C communications are like marriage vows:
“I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph.”
In short, for better or for worse guests are spreading the word. And, with social media as an immediate form of feedback, making sure that your guest’s last impression moves them to share their good experiences with those around them is paramount to business now more than ever.
Three: The front line is the bottom line. Teaching our front line staff to turn a disappointing moment into a “wow” makes for powerful guest experiences. Think about that for a moment. Something disappointing becomes an experience, but if you empower your front line to take the guest experience into their own hands, it can go a very long way in boosting service levels. Train them to think simple, yet effectively.
Lastly, in the words of a great American writer and poet Gertrude Stein: “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” I leave you with the encouragement to take pause this Thanksgiving season, thank those around you and to seek new ways to show your gratitude – don’t lose the art of giving thanks.
John Guillemette, Sr., certified executive chef, is a director of brand management for Sodexo’s Corporate client segment.