Guest Service: Outsmarting the Competition May be Easier Than You Think
By Jonathan Barsky Partner, Market Metrix | June 30, 2013
Companies are struggling to improve profitability by cutting expenses, copying competitors, replacing CEOs, and hiring expensive consultants. Unfortunately, most of these efforts have failed to pay off. But a number of hospitality leaders have found a source of competitive advantage. They are leveraging their own employees to find new opportunities for growth.
The notion is simple. 'Regular' employees are an important source of innovative ideas due to their knowledge of operations and their own creativity. Employees are psychologically and physically close to customers and research has shown they can be very helpful in identifying customer needs and opportunities for innovation.
Two of the ways hospitality leaders are driving top-line growth with their employees are employee crowd sourcing and employee engagement programs. These initiatives not only can uncover great ideas, but also serve to advance productivity and employees' emotional connection with their work.
Crowdsourcing is a buzz-word we're hearing a lot lately, although the idea is not new. Writer Jeff Howe coined the term in 2006, and defined it as "the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people." Today's technology advances this notion and gives us unprecedented access to the brilliance of others. There will always be creative geniuses, but now we are less reliant on the rock stars.
In the last few years, businesses have begun to follow suit. Crowdsourcing has become a very hot topic in the boardroom, and has spread into all areas of the company: financing and fund-raising, strategic direction, research and development, quality testing, and marketing.