What elevates service in a high-end or luxury setting is seldom related to tangible elements of the experience, but more often a result of Intention manifested prior to the guest, customer, or patient’s arrival.
This Culture of Excellence Through Intention (ETI) requires every guest opportunity, every interaction to be approached with purpose, a deliberate and meaningful results-driven objective. Embracing this as an operational standard leads to the formation of habits, enhanced through repetition, and reinforced with great coaching.
Begin by simply asking: What do you intend to be the outcome of this service opportunity?
Your team can fill in the specifics, but the general nature of the response follows this sequence:
Expectations > Engage in the Moment > Exceed Expectations > Create a Memory > Preserve Loyalty
Populating the sequence with dialogue would then sound something like:
“Understand and embrace the expectations of my guest, then see and feel beyond the expected by remaining emotionally connected to the moment, sensing the most appropriate action or response given the situation and resources at hand, using empathic empowerment to truly connect with my guest, creating a shared memory and wish for a speedy return.”
Bear in mind this sequence is focused on the intangibles of an experience. Creating Excellence through Intention will establish a unique but consistent level of service within your Brand, one not prone to the discretionary or random effort of an individual.
No Appointments, Only Opportunities
If you have customers, guests, patients, or clients, please disregard connotations associated with appointments. Moving forward there are no appointments, only opportunities . . . to engage, serve, treat, accommodate, etc.
Admittedly, this is a more difficult aspect to overcome in support of our climate change ambitions. We are formatted to operate from lists and calendars, appointment books and reservations. The danger is in allowing the numerical order within a structured system to dictate our emotional, and sometimes physical approach to service.
If you have eight opportunities to engage, serve, or treat through the course of a day, there is no difference between first or last. They are all unique and deserving of your undivided intention to create excellence and preserve loyalty.
Pace Does Not Dictate Passion
Maintaining focus during peak hours of operation is the easy part. Extending intention to the tapered ends of the business volume bell curve is what gives us trouble.
Visualizing the potential to engage as a series of unique, individual opportunities transcends pace. Personal pride nullifies distractions of reduced or chaotic business volume. Gratitude accompanies the freedom to perform without constraint, to truly focus on what matters most to those you serve.
This begins with the proper intention and highlights the importance of creating a culture of Excellence Through Intention (ETI), one capable of influencing behavior across roles and responsibilities.
Without this climate of accountability, individuals are left to manage a mindset of pride and professionalism on their own. Connection to other elements within an experience can be interrupted or ignored completely.
Leaders should dedicate a moment prior to each shift to refresh intention. Habits, once formed, are enhanced through repetition, and reinforced through coaching. Being visible and available to coach through fluctuations in pace demonstrates a leader’s investment in Culture.
What We Repeatedly Do
As with so many aspects of human behavior, Excellence Through Intention must become a habit to have the intended (see how nice that fits) impact on your Service Culture.
Begin with promoting an Intentional Mindset by repeatedly challenging yourself and your team to respond to the question: What do you intend to be the outcome of this service opportunity? Focus on the intangibles of each opportunity as a unique experience, building upon basic expectations to create excellence and perpetuate loyalty.
This should feel like a challenge in the beginning . . . remember you’re growing. Do not willingly accept surface responses but go deeper to map out a progression capable of guiding your thoughts and actions.
Consider incorporating what many successful brands, notably luxury and high-end operations, feature as a cultural element of intention. This is typically a motto, axiom, credo, creed, belief, etc. that is embraced and enlivened daily by individuals within the organization.
Once your shift or workday is officially complete, enjoy yourself . . . your culture will be there to greet you in the morning.