The customers service game is a tricky balance. Anyone who runs a customer-service focused business will tell you that it can be really hard to find committed staff who will work hard and provide great customer service consistently. The Hospitality and Tourism industries are absolutely at the forefront of this, and it is probably the number one challenge I hear from most Hospitality and Tourism providers. Motivating employees is a topic I am extremely passionate about. I think great leadership can motivate and engage employees and in turn helps to create a great culture in your venue; and great culture means great customer service.
But you need to have one element completely on point before you can look to implement employee motivational strategies; and that is having a good product to sell in the first place.
There’s no doubt that quality and consistency of product; beit the food or wine you are selling, is a crucial factor in having a successful venue. Often venue owners and managers state customer service issues and employee motivation as the number one reasons they are struggling, but the issue may in fact be the product you are selling.
I recently attended an event and was talking to a delightful young lady who spoke to me about her experiences in the Hospitality industry as a side job to her study and future career aspirations. She said she loved working for the place she was currently at because the hours were pretty good, the people she worked for are good people, but most importantly she loves the food she serves so she found it easy to sell. She went on to tell me that she had worked in previous Hospitality jobs where she was almost embarrassed to serve the food because it wasn’t great, and customers knew that too. It reminded me of a key aspect in any business that all the motivation, training, and inspiration of employees won’t mean anything if your product is not up to scratch. People need to believe in your product and why you are serving it.
When I meet with restaurants, wineries, cafes, and pub owners (or managers) and they tell me that they have continued issues with employee management and motivation, I always ask them if they are happy with the product that you are putting up each and every service? And what are their food/wine reviews like? I will always ask them to rate their food out of 1 – 10 because this gives me a very good indication of where the employee motivation issues may stem from.
Because, it really does matter. Getting the product right is the first crucial step in motivating your workforce. More often than not employees will happily sell what they believe in, what they know is a good product, and what they know is worth the dollars that customers are spending in your venue.
All the staff motivation, recruiting the right people, and training won’t make your employees be able to sell for you, particularly if they don’t believe in your product in the first place. Having a great product will be one of the biggest motivators and reasons that your employees like to work for you and like the product they sell. You need them to believe in the dream, believe in the product, and love the product as much as you do. It’s the only way someone does their best selling.
Motivating staff is hard work. Creating a great company culture and getting your employees to actively turn up with a smile on their face and sell your product with passion is something that every venue aspires to, but there are a few layers to getting it right. The first and probably most crucial one is quality of product.
So before you blame lack of bums on seats on customer service or employees as a first port of call, ensure that you are absolutely 100% happy and in love with your product, then look in to the employee engagement strategies to further enhance the overall experience.
Love to hear your thoughts.
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: