Earning Expert Customer Care Through 'Want to' Performance
By Aubrey Daniels Founder & Chairman, Aubrey Daniels International | March 10, 2013
Let's face it; in the hotel business if you don't deliver acceptable customer service, guests are more than likely to walk out your door and into one of a multitude of competitor properties, even after just one bad experience. And, in today's socially active world, there's no hiding your inefficiencies as irate customers are quick to take their experience to Twitter or other hotel review sites and spread their negative stories. The competition is so fierce that it's easy to understand why a hotel brand's customer reputation is one of its key drivers of business success.
Take for example the gold standard of customer service, The Four Seasons. What specifically do they do to earn this esteemed reputation? Why, even when they have a misstep, are they able to resolve issues quickly and maintain their customers' trust and loyalty? It all comes down to behavior, that of each and every one of its employees. Hotel brands that understand this are successful at expertly managing and reinforcing the right behaviors, and in return they earn above and beyond performance from all employees, regardless of rank.
This above and beyond performance is called discretionary effort. It is the level of effort people could give if they wanted to, but above and beyond the minimum required. Leaders and managers are, more times than not, misguided into thinking that by providing good pay, benefits and a comfortable place to work, employees will perform their best. However, these factors alone never capture discretionary effort.
Many organizations manage performance in such a way that motivates employees to do only enough to get by and avoid getting in trouble. Typically, these organizations manage by exception, providing consequences for worker's performance only when it falls below the standard or minimum required. This approach gets immediate results, but just enough behavior to stop the threats and the potential for other negative consequences in the near future. It suppresses discretionary effort because there's nothing in it for people to do more than the minimum required.
To understand this better, we must first acknowledge that no organizational result can be produced without human behavior and that any organizational system that is designed without taking the laws of behavior (called behavior analysis) into account will always perform below what is possible. To that end, managers and leaders must be expert in building systems and processes that are consistent with what is known about the laws of behavior.
Behavior and Consequences