A resort in Mexico sets the standard for stellar service. What lessons can we learn to apply to our own businesses on how to keep our employees happy and delivering awesome service?
Recently, I was lucky enough to steal away on a mega-long weekend, five whole days in Mexico. It's a quick trip for us west coasters. We stay at our favorite resort, which in our opinion has the best service of any place we've ever been.
My husband and I started talking about why the service is so incredibly good and our conversation kept ending up with the same conclusion: the employees love what they do and feel lucky to work at such a top-notch place. Over and over we heard, "This place is one of the top three places you can work in this area." And the smiles on their faces and the way they adoringly talked about their employer said it all.
The Coveted Pin
The staff sports some smart uniforms, cool linen since they work in the heat so much, but something really stands out as part of their look, each employee wears a rectangular pin with either diamonds or placeholders for future diamonds. As it turns out, for each year of service the staff gets a new diamond they place in the pin and wear with the utmost pride. A few of them (15) have actually filled out an entire pin and are working on their second, and what's really cool? Everyone on the staff knew exactly who the 15 people were and looked up to them as a source of inspiration. If they leave, even for a short time, they have to start all over.
It was so great to see such a sense of pride and a real family of people who work together for a long period of time.
So how do you keep employees around and make them happy so they do the best job for your customers?
1. Treat your team well--And I don't just mean by paying them a ton. Recognition goes a long way and this pin idea is great. The resort staff wears it with pride and it's their badge of honor!
Also enabling employees to make decisions on how to interact and treat customers goes a long way toward giving them a feeling of satisfaction. Zappos does a great job of empowering their service reps to be themselves and go above and beyond.
2. Understand who you serve and be passionate--This resort in Mexico understands that people are paying good money for service, so they go above and beyond. One small example? They take note of our clothing and provide a sewing kit with thread that matches most of our items in case we need a quick repair.
Once at my online marketing company VerticalResponse, an engineer was trying to help a customer. The engineer recognized that this customer was only about 20 minutes away and offered to drive over and help. The customer was thrilled and no one even asked him to go the extra mile-- he just really wanted to help.
3. Award Your Team--If you apply for awards, and you win, it's another way to get your team behind what they do day in and day out. Even if you're a finalist and don't win, it's still a win because you are receiving recognition.
We apply for the American Business Awards in a number of categories like customer service, marketing, management and product awards. We feel that if we tell our stories to a third party and our peers give us a thumbs up, it's an amazing recognition of all our efforts.
So make sure your passion for what you do spreads to your team, because if that happens, you're customers are going to be very happy.
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick