Voice of the Restaurant Industry
My answer is a resounding YES! During my years in business I have heard varying opinions on this topic. Many believe that people either have it or they don’t. Some actually believe it’s genetic. Does it help if you were raised in an environment where service was important? You bet it does. Is a “glass half full attitude” helpful in the process? Without a doubt. So the question remains, can you pull a person off the street who doesn’t possess this background/attitude and teach him how to provide extraordinary customer service? Re-read my first sentence. Now let me tell you why!
Call me a dreamer; I have been called much worse with fewer letters! I believe that deep down inside every human enjoys doing something nice for another human. I can hear the naysayers now, “What about Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, or other humans who seem to get a charge out of hating and killing?” I never said that all humans are sane; I just said they can be taught to provide extraordinary customer service.
Just for the record, I’m not recommending you go out and hire a bunch of terrorists to be on your service team! For this argument let’s go with the “vast majority” when we talk about everybody. That way we don’t have to discuss the implications of hiring Osama to work the host stand at your restaurant.
So if everyone enjoys doing something nice for others why is extraordinary customer service in America such a hit or miss proposition? I blame it on us, the leaders in the industry. I don’t think we are willing to take the time to figure it out. We are in such a hurry to get through our checklists; we seldom take time to engage our brand ambassadors (those individuals who have the most exposure to our customers). Hmmmmm. That statement is making me a little uncomfortable, how about you?
Some of you may be saying “Hey wait a minute Mr. Finger Pointer, I take the time to engage the members of my service team!” I have no doubt that some of you do. I also believe that many of us think we are engaging our team members and there’s a decent chance we are not. Here’s my theory…
Many managers are still operating in the Command and Control mode which was a perfect style during the Industrial Revolution. Last I checked the Industrial Revolution ended close to a century ago. Old habits die hard. The fact is you can no longer tell employees what to do. Check that you can tell em but there’s a good chance they won’t listen. Some leaders blame it on “the way kids are raised today”. I say let’s look in the mirror!
I believe it’s about making employee engagement the priority. After all how can we expect our employees to engage the customer if we don’t engage our employees? There’s that uncomfortable feeling again. I think it’s so important for us to understand how to engage our employees and I will save that for my next blog.
So if you are willing to buy-in to the thought that every human (excuse me the vast majority of humans) likes to do something nice for other humans, then you should be willing to hear me out! I’d love to hear your comments. Stay tuned, much more to come on this topic!