"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value."
~ Albert Einstein ~
Whether you work in retail, hospitality or a not-for-profit organization, you must realize that it’s the customers we have that keep us in business. Competition isn't going away but getting stronger. In order to keep our business viable, we must deliver exceptional service that goes beyond the customer’s expectations and do it consistently.
Service is all about “adding value to the process”. Here are 10 solid tips you can invest your time in to ensure you get and keep your walk-in guests who could become your future residents.
1. Never Make a Promise you Can’t Keep
It’s important to recognize what is within your control and not have to rely on others to deliver on the promise. Do not exceed your own limitations and expect others to pick up after you.
2. Personalize your Service Delivery
Truly get to know your own personal style in regards to how you communicate with people; how you interact on an interpersonal level whether it’s face-to-face, via email or over the telephone. You can’t fake it – you must be genuine and show you actually care.
3. Ask Questions to Determine Needs
We can’t help if we don’t know what the problem is, right? Let’s ask ‘open probes’ in order to get our residents to describe the situation and talk to us about the issue. It’s similar to diagnosing a problem based on the symptoms displayed.
4. Match your Capabilities to the Customer’s Needs
This is really a no-brainer…don’t offer something you don’t have or can’t get. Refer to Tip #1 if in doubt.
5. Take Ownership of the Situation
Remember that old sitcom, “Sanford and Son” from the mid-70’s? Redd Foxx’s character as a cantankerous junk dealer had a favourite mantra: “Not my job!” Such is definitely not the case when you have customers and residents relying on you to help them with any situation or a simple query.
6. Surpass Expectations
When you have a guest reaching out to you for assistance, don’t just get it right 80% or even 99%; go that extra step and strive for that 110%. Providing only 80% of your full capabilities will definitely cost you down the road.
7. Ensure You Follow Up
This is part of going that extra distance to deliver exceptional service. Always follow up with your customers to ensure that what you promised them in fact did occur and they are happy with the results.
8. Continuously Build your Knowledge Base
Over 20 years ago, one of my mentors told me: “Knowledge is power; the more knowledge you have, the more powerful you become to your clients”.
9. Practice Lateral Selling of Services
“Lateral selling” is the practice of referring your guests to other departments for products or services which they might also enjoy. For example, if you’re offering extra-curricular activities in the Community Room, you might also want to mention the upcoming weekend getaways that your Activities Coordinator is putting together next month. Learn to anticipate as you discovered with Tip #3.
10. Live your Brand through your Attitude & Passion
Your customers come to recognize and respect you as a ‘brand’ just like they recognize the name ‘Ford’ and respect Albert Einstein. Show your passion for what you do each day in your retirement facility to keep it healthy, nourished and growing.
Treat your staff like a valued customer, too. Try one of my Top 10 Tips each week and practice it for 7-10 days. Keep building upon the previous one and you will see an improvement in satisfaction ratings from your residents, as well as, within your operation!