Yours is almost certainly not the only company that does what you do. So how can you create a unique and unequaled experience of what doing business with you looks, sounds, and feels like? There’s one industry that has been perfecting the customer experience for 250 years—hospitality.
Here are 7 quick tips Yes& borrowed from restaurants that can transform the way your clients see your business, whether you serve up law, accounting, architecture, or even advertising and marketing.
- You eat with your eyes first.
This need not always apply to mouth-watering food. From the order, style, and cleanliness of your office to the functionality and clarity of your internal and external communications, “looking” your best helps set the expectation that you are, in fact, the best.
- Mise en place.
For those of you who’ve never worked in the hospitality industry and have never taken French, mise en place means “putting in place” or “everything in its place." When you’re preparing to host your clients or welcome a new staff member to your corporate family, it makes a world of difference if you’ve set yourself up for a seamless interaction. The devil really is in the details, and something as simple as doing a little digging to discover their favorite coffee and have it on hand, or formatting your communications in an easy-to-understand, timely, and consistent way may seem basic, but can make the difference between a 3 star experience and 5 star experience.
- Determine what they need before they even know they need it.
How do you take an interaction from good to downright magical? Get into the mind of your client or employee. For a client, that might be having umbrellas ready to give away if they are leaving your office and find it’s begun to rain, or sending them a proposal for easy ways they could improve their business each quarter and beyond, linked with relevant content to their industry. For your team, consider keeping tabs and logs on the equipment they’re using to keep things humming along and schedule regular maintenance or functionality checks to cut back issues that stop their productivity.
- Don’t just correct, redeem.
Mistakes happen, deadlines get pushed, and disappointment follows. When this occurs, consider adopting a common fine-dining mindset of not just correcting your mistake, but going above and beyond to redact the proverbial “bad taste” you’ve left in the wake of your blunder. Try developing a protocol for recovery. Aside from a heartfelt acknowledgement and apology, you could offer a future discount on a service rendered. A little loss can go a long way in building a positive, long-term, and lucrative relationship.
- Adopt chef standards of perfection.
Some of the best chefs are known for being, well, a little insane when it comes to what goes in and out of their kitchen. And while Gordon Ramsey’s antagonistic antics are not necessary or admirable, a commitment to the very best outcome is. Make sure your team has the tools and the time they need to deliver the best possible work to your clients. By adopting a project management protocol and an Agile methodology to your office workspace, you can create a transparent workflow that produces the best results and maintains delight for your clients and team.
- Work like your livelihood depends on it.
If you didn’t know already, your bartenders and waiters depend solely on their guests’ satisfaction and the subsequent tip that the guest leaves as their main source of income. While there are a number of flaws in that system, one thing is for sure: it’s motivating. Each and every interaction with a client or employee should be documented and followed up. It’s important to constantly be working to improve your interactions and take inventory of your constructive feedback. This can, of course, be challenging at times, but employing genuine empathy for the unique concerns and difficulties that your client or employee has will help to develop brand ambassadors who are truly loyal to you and your mission.
- It’s more than just a meal—it’s an experience.
In the words of Simon Sinek,“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” You know the “what” that brought someone through your doors. And, you know your “what” is likely not unique. The complete experience that you chose to create and the “why” behind it, however, is. It’s the driving force behind building a brand that people seek out as the “only desirable option.” All these things combined create your unique value proposition and push you towards the extraordinary.
Try a few of these tips and consider "86ing" some bad habits.