Photo credit: Florian Plag. https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6261086405
At the Studer Community Institute’s EntreCon event earlier this month, Trusted Health CEO Tommy Duncan presented a triangle that really hit home with our attendees.
The triangle had its three key points: Product, service and price. He used examples of organizations that provide a great overall experience, pointing out something important - that often times they are not the cheapest provider.
It highlights just how important customer experience is.
No matter what industry you’re in, you can take some of the tactics used by these companies and duplicate them. Here are a few examples:
Ritz Carlton is famous for great service. You probably haven’t heard of the “10/5 Rule.” What is that? Every employee makes eye contact with a customer within 10 feet. At five feet, employees make a greeting gesture. That alone creates energy and provides the avenue to provide customer service.
Duncan Finley, a former CEO of a large organization in Sarasota, always set the goal to “own the hallway.” What he meant by that was to make sure every customer was greeted, taken care of and offered help. You’ve probably experienced both kinds of companies: One where an employee walks right by you like you aren’t there and one where you are greeted in a friendly, helpful manner.
Another practice Ritz Carlton uses is daily huddles. Each department brings all of its staff together to go over the shift. This covers certain activities, any issues, guests, etc. The Blue Wahoos have adopted this tactic. Before each game, each department has a staff huddle. What groups will be there? What special events do we have? What’s the weather report? We review fan surveys from the game before, staff recognition takes place, we review food and beverage specials and more. Like a football team, the goal is to have everyone coordinated and on the same page.
Walt Disney World is famous in its goal is to make each day special for guests. The staff knows many guests are there for the first time. When the park closes, the park’s maintenance people get to work. There’s fresh paint, beautiful landscaping and they always make sure everything looks fresh. It is a good idea for every business to assess each day what must be fixed, painted and cleaned to provide customers a great feeling.
In the Blue Wahoos organization we say we must act as if every day is opening day. Sometimes we do well, and every now and then we learn a lesson. This past year the Wahoos named the field after Jack Fetterman. On opening day “Admiral Fetterman Field” was stenciled in solid white letters. By the fourth game, the field paint on the grass started to look faded. From then on, a fresh coat was used before every game so each game was like opening day.
While national brands have great example, there are local examples in every community. McGuire’s Irish Pub in Pensacola is a great example. In 1996 I became administrator of Baptist Hospital. As I walked the hallways I noticed the waiting rooms outside the intensive care units were crowded with family and friends of the patients.
This was normal in most hospitals. When a loved one is in intensive care, more family and friends are present. They also don’t want to leave the waiting room in case news comes or the physician wants to see them.
At McGuire’s, I learned very quickly as I walked by a line outside it was apparent this was a popular spot. The person inside the front door shared how long the wait was for a table, asked for my name and then handed me a device that would let me know when my table was ready. The device lit up and vibrated. As I waited, I thought of the families in the intensive care waiting areas. We took the idea from McGuire’s and implemented it at Baptist.
In September of this year, my oldest son had a brain tumor removed at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. The surgery was nine hours long. As we waited in a waiting room, my daughter-in-law had a device that lit up and vibrated. In addition, there was an area where a text message appeared every hour with an update from the surgery team. There were large screens in the area with each patient’s family given a status update like pre-surgery, in surgery, post-surgery and when they were on the way to a hospital room. All of these tools were very helpful to us.
There are examples everywhere. The challenge is taking them and implementing them. The barrier for many is to fall into the trap of thinking that their business is unique. Most businesses are much more alike than different.
What do they have most in common? They all need highly satisfied customers.