No Excuses Allowed

In Mrs. Soeesby’s Senior English class it was simply called “The List.” In letters large enough to see from anywhere in the classroom, it started above the door to the class and went all the way round the room. Each item was numbered. By the time she retired (between our second and third child’s journey through Senior English), the list was over 100 items.

The list was excuses she had heard over the years from students for not turning in their work on time.

Ever the efficient teacher, she simply required the student to write the number on a blank piece of paper and turn it in.

At Le Bernardin, one of New York’s premier four-star restaurants, co-founder Maguy Le Coze and maître d’ Ben Chekroun give new service staff a list, too – 129 details, aka “Monumentally Magnificent Trivialities” to keep in mind at all times.

Here are a few samples:

• Acknowledging guests with eye contact and smile within 30 seconds; First Impressions count!

• Not thanking guests as they leave; Last Impression!

• Not opening the front door for guests

• Being too familiar or excessively chatty

• No sense of humor

• Lack of eye contact

• Not having total focus when talking to guests

• Not really listening when spoken to

• Appearing stressed or out of control

• Not establishing rapport with the guests

• Inability to answer basic questions

• Poor personal sanitation practices

• Standing around doing nothing

• Pointing

• Walking past dropped items/trash on floor

• Excuses for anything-anytime

It’s a constant battle to keep everything consistent and up to the established standards.

Do you have a list for your Guest Services team?

You should…

Advertisements

An Apple a Day

While doing some research recently, I came across a back issue of “Fast Company” magazine and a great article on Apple entitled “Apple Nation.” It’s one observer’s version of what “the Apple playbook” might look like. It may be dated, but it’s fascinating – and it has some implications for your organization.

  • Go into your cave – Apple is fanatic about secrecy when it comes to their development process. Behind it’s often closed doors, Apple can ignore the clamor of the world and create its own unique brand of “magic.”
  • It’s okay to be king – Apple’s engineers spend 100% of their time making products planned by a small club of senior managers – and while he was CEO, sometimes entirely by the late Steve Jobs himself. It may seem dictatorial, but it works. The hyper focus lets everyone know exactly what is needed.
  • Transcend orthodoxy – despite all the noise about Apple’s closed ideology, the company adopts positions based on whether they make for good products and good business. Results are the driving philosophy.
  • Just say no – CEO Steve Job’s primary role at Apple was to turn things down. “I’m as proud of the products that we have not done as the ones we have done,” Jobs once told an interviewer.
  • Serve your customer. No, really – however great your product or service, something will go wrong – and only then will the customer/client take the true measure of your organization.
  • Everything is marketing – Apple understands the lasting power of sensory cues, and goes out its way to infuse everything it make with memorable ideas that scream its brand.
  • Kill the past – no other company re imagines the fundamental parts of its business as frequently, and with as much gusto, as Apple does. Nothing holds it back, so it can always stay on the edge of what’s technologically possible.
  • Turn feedback into inspiration – Apple doesn’t exactly ignore the many customer requests for improvements in its products. They simply use their ideas as inspiration, not direction; as a means, not an end.
  • Don’t invent, reinvent – revolutionary is one of Jobs’ favorite words. It curates the best ideas bubbling up around the tech world and makes them its own.
  • Play by your own clock – Apple doesn’t get caught up in the competitive frenzy of the industry; it plays by its own clock. Apple’s product release schedule is designed around its own strategy and its own determination of what products will advance the company’s long-term goals.

Everyone wants to be like Steve Jobs and the powerhouse company he created and led. It’s not easy. But the lessons of Apple above may just help move your own organization forward.

 

Have you had your “Apple” today?

 

Have You Checked Your Digital Front Door Lately?

Recently I was on site at a church conducting a Guest Perspective evaluation. At Auxano, our Guest Perspective starts in the digital world, because that’s where many guests begin their search for information.

Our client is doing a great job on their digital front door:

  • Their website is crisp, easy to navigate, and always current
  • The mobile option for the web site works well
  • They have developed apps for iPhone and Android devices
Taking a cue from our conversations over the past two days, here are five key ingredients that will insure you have a guest-friendly website:
  • Post all necessary information on a guest-specific landing page. This will make it easy for guests to find out service times, locations, and other helpful information.
  • Personalize your site to guest satisfaction; what would you want to know if you were looking at your church for the first time?
  • Perform quick and inexpensive usability tests to ensure ease of use. And when you make changes to the site, perform the tests again.
  • Build credibility by adding the human touch: Let your guests know that there are real people behind your  site. Post the names and pictures of the staff and team members with whom your guests typically interact.
  • Ask your guests for feedback. Answer — and act upon – every response you receive.

Follow the guidelines above for your digital doorway and soon you will be welcoming guests at your physical doorway!