When was the last time you entered a restaurant, and the host or hostess took several minutes to even acknowledge you were there? Have you ever needed something at your table, and the service staff seemed to be on a freeway – with no exit ramps? When you go through the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant, do you pull over after getting your food, to check to see if your order is correct – why?
Why doesn’t that “pre-occupied” host/hostess not consider it a priority to acknowledge your presence when you enter the restaurant? She doesn’t, because management has not made it a priority. For better or worse, management is the role model for employees.
Why do you stop to check what’s in your bag when you exit the drive-thru? Because you have little confidence that the person that handed you your order, knows, or even cares, if the order is correct. In fact, the fast food industry has “trained” you to do their job.
The list of examples of poor service is virtually endless. I’m sure you have your own list.
While there are many reasons service doesn’t “stick,” – high turnover, language barriers, unmotivated employees, you generally need look no further than the company culture and those responsible for establishing and reinforcing that culture.
Creating a strong and consistent service culture is not a bottom-up process. Nor does it just happen. It starts at the top of an organization and is reinforced, at every level, by a management team that clearly understands the organization’s mission, vision and culture.
Each organization has the opportunity to create its own, unique mission, vision and culture. The culture of an organization, whether by design or circumstance, is largely defined by the company’s leadership. You can build a culture for your organization by making the core beliefs, values and behavioral norms explicit and intentional.
How do you ensure that you have the culture you want for your business? Start with a clearly defined and well communicated mission statement. A clear mission statement not only tells your customers and employees what they can expect and what is expected of them, but it can also be a guide for every service-related decision you make. It should capture your passion for your business and your commitment to satisfying your customers.
The vision for your business is broader and more comprehensive, painting the big picture of what you want your organization to become. It is built on the core values and belief systems of the organization.
Once developed, communicate your company’s mission and vision throughout the organization. Above all, live it – at every level of the organization and every day.
Remember, whether or not you choose to clearly define and reinforce your company’s culture, a culture will develop. Your employees will model it and your customers will experience it first-hand.
Superior service doesn’t just happen – at least not consistently superior service. It is the result of a well-defined, consistently reinforced service culture.
Meet our guest blogger…
Ron Wolf - Serving nearly four decades in the hospitality industry, Ron Wolf spent 17 years as the Sr. training officer for one of America’s top hotel companies and a leading multi-brand restaurant franchisor. Ron is founder of both the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) and the Independent Restaurant & Bar Association of Georgia. In his seven years as CEO, Wolf grew the GRA from a handful of members, to more than 3,000 members across Georgia. Wolf is also is currently an adjunct instructor at The Art Institute of Atlanta, teaching courses on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Ethics & Legal Issues for Culinarians.