Greeting Maizi-ites! I’ve got another story from my human Steve’s travels around the Far East. This time about a new start up store in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand where he was working last week.
He told me and my other human Ann this story as we spoke to him through a floating window over the Bank Holiday weekend. (I’m a dog, you can’t expect me to understand Skype can you?).
He said he’d been running a week-long workshop on:
- Setting up the process
- Coaching the team on customer service
- How to be a stand out team.
The workshop was for a young and enthusiastic team from sales, parts and service, all very new to the brand. Part of his coaching and mentoring was to help them understand what class-leading customer service was all about, and most importantly to see what it looks like and feels like.
Steve split them into groups of two and they were tasked to go to a 5-star restaurant or hotel and make enquiries about taking a party of people for a 5-star dinner.
The business of luxury
They had been briefed to look, hear, listen, get prices (but not book) and report back their experiences:
- Describe how they were greeted, did the restaurant staff make eye contact, smile etc
- Check that all the information provided for their phantom booking was captured without it feeling like they’d been taken through a process
- Describe how they would create the same feeling in their own customers.
Essentially all the areas that Steve had been coaching the new team on, which would prepare them for class-leading customer service as soon as the new store opened.
(It’s strange because I make eye contact and smile all the time but no-one ever offers me 5-star service. My food and drink is served on the floor and I’m only allowed on the sofa at Christmas and other special occasions.)
Everyone said it was the first time they’d been to a 5-star restaurant or hotel, so were very apprehensive. But, the people they met didn’t judge them or make them feel less important.
They learnt that it’s essential at this luxury level to, make eye contact, smile, listen and reconfirm, pay attention and be confident when you present your proposal. Steve goes through all these elements in his coaching sessions.
When you feel it’s expensive you put your thoughts into the pitch and all the staff our young team spoke to, had sold the value over cost.
Everyone said it was a very effortless and enjoyable experience. The rest of Steve’s session encouraged the team to list how they could create the same experience in their new retail environment.
But after their presentations and feedback Andy Long, the retailer principal of Richco Harley-Davidson, threw all the participants a curveball…
A 5-star surprise
He said: ”Good job. Great lessons learnt. For all your hard work this week, choose the best 5-star restaurant or hotel and book a table for all of you and partners, on me!”
From Andy’s point of view this isn’t a cost. He wants to demonstrate to his team that, if you’ve experienced it, you can better understand it and deliver it.
Steve told Ann and I that this was a great example of leadership and recognising the team because it really motivated everyone – he has a very good feeling that they’ll open the news store looking to emulate a class leading customer service.
(I was wondering… If I wag my tail more, and give Steve more eye contact will he upgrade my office bed for one of those mattress things with pictures of bones on? I’m sure that would help my blue-sky thinking..)
So 5 Big Tail Wags to Andy Long and Richo Harley-Davidson for thinking outside the box and giving their team a genuine 5 star customer experience.
Me? I prefer to think outside in the garden or on that sofa, if Steve and Ann will let me. So until next time, have fun and don’t forget to Be More Maizi!