Hospitality is not typically a word associated with customer service, but many in the profession would argue that it should be. According to Dictionary.com, the term “hospitality” can be defined as, “the friendly reception of guests or strangers.” Common synonyms of the word include, “friendliness,” “warmth” and “cordiality.” Doesn’t that sound like the sort of customer service department you want for your company?
In its most basic form, hospitality is about treating people who come to your place as if they were special, important guests. What if a movie star or the quarterback of your professional football team walked through the door of your company? What sort of service would that famous person receive? Although most of our daily customers won’t fall into the “red carpet” category, they still deserve the red carpet treatment every time they do business with you. We have four tips to help you show hospitality to your customers every single day.
The first step to a hospitable customer service culture is basic, but learning the first and last names of your customers is a technique guaranteed to make them feel special the minute they walk through your door. Disney Cruise Line announces each passenger by name throughout the ship’s lobby when the customer boards the boat for the first time. Your customers should get that same special feeling when they walk through your business doors.
Take Time to Chat
Hospitality is not a rushed process; instead, it requires some time and patience to cultivate. By stopping to engage in a bit of small talk and pleasantries with customers when they come into your business, you are showing that you value their business relationship. It doesn’t have to be involved or lengthy; a few comments on their children or even the weather will get the message across loud and clear.
Remember their Favorites
When guests come to call your personal home, do you try to have their favorite dessert or wine on hand to make them feel welcome? Customers tend to have favorite items or services that they purchase regularly as well. Learn those favorites, and the next time your customer comes in, have the item set aside for him or offer him a discount on his next service. Nothing melts a customer’s heart faster than realizing you are paying attention to his business.
Your customers are the reason your doors are open for business every day, so let them know how much their patronage means to you. Frequent customer discounts, customer appreciation days and even a free cup of coffee when they come in will let customers know you value their business. Saying “thank you” in tangible ways is one of the most effective (and easiest) ways to build customer loyalty.
Everyone likes to feel special and important on occasion, and your customers are no exception. If you give those clients the hospitality they deserve, they are more likely to become frequent visitors and tell their friends and family about your amazing service as well.
– Meredith Estep