Customer Loyalty Starts with Leadership
Start With Example-Based Leadership
Both customers and staff at every level seek a sense of strong leadership at the helm of any business, and our industry is the best example of that.
Actionable protocols, training, policies and procedures that keep operations running smoothly and consistently, always with an energetic and positive attitude — these instill values from top to bottom. Employees look to leadership to set the tone.
When staff can count on this leadership, productivity is high and the company is in optimal functioning mode. This is the hallmark of stellar operations in hospitality.
When customers sense this type of leadership, there is customer procurement, retention and personal loyalty. That’s what drives us all, because in the end, it’s all about our customers.
Customer Needs and Desires
Customers expect their experience to be flawless at every turn. With the competition always looking for new ways to outdo us, our success will come down to our company’s mission and values.
As a leader, you need to paint the picture of excellence every day, ensuring that staff understands their role and what impact they have on your customer experiences.
Building loyalty is the “Secret Sauce.” It sounds so simple, and is such a frequent topic of discussion, but the challenge lies in true commitment and passionate execution.
Today, building customer loyalty requires that everyone in the organization fully understand, and learn to predict what the guests’ needs and desires are, so they can be catered to and met in the most personalized manner.
Making the Customer Experience Extraordinary
In today’s highly competitive market and global environment, services must exceed the guests’ expectations.
When I go to work, I don’t simply strive for ordinary or acceptable experiences, I want them to have an extraordinary experience by going above and beyond, by creating a positive environment and interaction that won’t soon be forgotten, the type they will want to share with friends and colleagues when they leave us.
I want them to share what a fantastic experience they had at my hotel. That is how you create a loyal customer and fan for life. The art of service is evident when your guests are delighted and thrilled.
To make that happen, you must engage your guests, and make sure your associates take ownership of situations, react and act.
By engaging guests, you create emotional bonds. You let them know you are interested, you care, and that they are human beings and not just dollar signs.
It’s a fast-paced, stressed-out world right now, automated, digital and not always personable. In the hospitality business, you can stay competitive by keeping the human touch alive and well. Companies who do this will thrive.
Aim for Value; Profits Will Follow
Differentiation works! It means analyzing needs and planning strategies accordingly. Organizations who understand this, evaluate their values, put them into play and measure the results.
They understand that careful assessment of needs and measures of satisfaction are critical. These are the organizations that have leaders whose focus is value, before profit.
What? How can anything come before profit, you ask?
Today many organizations struggle to attract real leaders because they can’t define the qualities a leader requires.
The nature of ownership has changed so much over the years — developers, investment funds or wealthy individuals — have skewed perceptions of leadership and caused the profit agenda to dominate the value model.
What old-world businessmen knew, however, was that value led to profits.
Follow the Leader
As the playing field continues to change, decision makers will face the challenge of ever-changing guest expectations, preserving the best of traditions and creating new standards of excellence. Not easy, unless you create a culture of leadership rather than simply assigning a leader.
What is the formula for winning customers over? It is not complicated. We frequently get guests from our competitors, and the complaint we hear most about those competitors is poor service.
Every touch point contributes to the guest experience and offering a personable, genuine concern for guests will go a long way in creating a loyal customer.
Know What Guests Need Before They Ask
I think by looking at each guest and deciphering their particular needs, you develop a relationship and the guest comes to understand that you care.
If you are paying attention, using active listening with your customers, they will give you cues about the different ways you can add a personal touch.
By finding ways to make your guests warmly welcomed and by anticipating their requests before you are asked, you are delivering high-level service and are well on the way to creating an utterly loyal, possibly lifelong customer.