Operations Planner
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Engage Your Staff to Frame the Guest Experience

publication date: Jul 3, 2012
author/source: John Hendrie

The Hospitality operator’s premise must be that what the Guest says we are, we are.  Therefore, the more we know about our Guest and share with our staff, the better they will perform.  Our employees are the ones who deliver on our promise.  This is very easy to say, but very hard to accomplish in the current business environment.  But, try you must, keeping in mind that everything comes back to the Guest, the patron, the visitor!  Bring your staff together and begin to “hammer out” some dimensions they can relate to and advantage in their engagement of the customer.

Engage Your Staff to Frame the Guest Experience

Start by knowing about your Guest.  Certainly, the establishment has some means to gather feedback, that response from your Guest.  It may be merely comment cards or a more sophisticated automated system.  It is critical to know who your Guests are - age, type (big difference between a college oriented crowd and the professional), where you draw them from, etc.  You are gaining customer insight, essentially creating a it is easier to retain an existing customer than attract a new one.  Know your position in the marketplace – who is your competition within the neighborhood, even a 30 mile radius.  The economy has been brutal, so you know already that your consumer is bruised and bloodied, but what else do they seek beyond a safe, comfortable sanctuary?  Are they interested merely in a dollar value, perhaps excitement and fun?  As a given, you know they require a certain level of courtesy, respect and effort made to feel special.

There is an old “saw” – it is easier to retain an existing customer than attract a new one.  That works, especially if your turn your current fans into raving and roving (good news travels quickly) ambassadors for the Brand.  With all this preliminary work, you are beginning to bring it home and directly involve your staff as partners.

Now, at your door step, what do you see and feel?  Time to take a hard look at the facility, the product and the service!  What is the shape of the exterior and interior (chipped paint, dirty carpet, etc.)?  Is the ambiance suffocating (too loud, too dark, too cold)?  And, the real basic – overall cleanliness, especially the restrooms.  Now, move to the product – preparation and presentation.  Lastly, we look at the true differentiator – service – and how everyone manages their moments of truth – the “touch points”.

Wow, that is a lot of work.  What’s in it for me, your staff member?  You better have this answer.  Start with job security, maintaining current shifts, continuing, even elevated gratuities.  The business prospers, so do the employees.  You and your team of partners have minimized weaknesses, emphasized strengths, engendered Guest loyalty and boosted return business, resulting in improved sales, productivity, and profitability.  Not a bad effort!


Engage Your Staff to Frame the Guest Experience - By John Hendrie LRA Worldwide


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