I am fortunate to have developed best- in- class guest services programs in amazing San Diego and Southern California sport event venues. In each of these sports facilities, I followed a simple 4 step plan:
- Establish a clear vision.
Create a powerful Statement of Common Purpose that expresses the venue’s service promise and serves as an inspirational and motivational tool to set up both short and long- term goals.
- Define desired staff characteristics.
Use the Statement of Common Purpose to identify the characteristics staff must possess to execute the service promise. Then, hire staff who actually possess those traits. Emphasize those characteristics and train staff on how to use and improve on their unique talents to solve service problems.
- Develop a clear decision matrix.
Prioritize service concepts that are critical to the effective operation of your sport event venue and then train staff on how to grade any decision they make against this prioritized matrix. By defining the “black” and “white,” an empowered staff will be enabled to make decisions in the “gray.”
- Articulate specific guidelines for guest interaction… keep reading…
Articulate Specific Guidelines For Guest Interaction
Articulating specific guidelines for guest interaction should be the easiest part of creating an effective guest services program for a sport event venue. It isn’t though. The guidelines are not theoretical or implied. They are explicit. Giving clear and direct instruction that is universally understood is difficult. We’ve all heard truisms like…
“Common sense isn’t so common”
“When you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and Me”
“Different strokes for different folks.”
These sayings are especially true in service positions. As guest service managers, we cannot expect our staff to innately exhibit the expected behaviors consistent with the event venue’s service promise. We all interpret the world differently and come from a variety of socio- economic and cultural backgrounds. This personal diversity influences the way our staff present themselves and how they communicate with guests. This is why we must give specific instruction and guidance on how we expect our staff to interact with attendees. Some of this may feel rudimentary, but it is necessary to establish a well understood service culture.
I consider these guidelines to be the minimum expectation for staff interactions with patrons and clients. With a well- developed guest services program our staff should be internally motivated to promote a culture of excellence in which these minimum service expectations are routinely exceeded. To reinforce this culture, the creation of a staff incentive program encourages staff to constantly surpass expectations. There is no ceiling to exceeding expectations. Conversely, a disciplinary program maintains adherence to the minimize service guidelines and establishes the floor for acceptable service delivery.
The guidelines for guest services are specific to the venue and personal to the management team. I have worked in buildings where we knew administrators had certain pet peeves, so we established guidelines to systematically reduce the likelihood of triggering one of those pet peeves. Understanding management sensitivities is an important part of the process because it colors how management perceives the organization’s effectiveness in meeting service expectations.
Some sample guidelines that I have used in my past event venues include:
- Make eye contact and smile.
- Greet and welcome each & every guest.
- Seek out guest contact. Don’t wait for an interaction.*
- Provide immediate service recovery.*
- Display appropriate body language at all times.*
- Wear uniform neat and proud (see uniform standards).
- Thank each & every guest.
- Don’t sit on post, unless specifically instructed by management.
- Use professional language in all communications (including on radio).*
- Take breaks in non- public areas only.
- Do not use your cell phone while on post.
* Some of these are not entirely explicit, but we do provide specific training on those terms in our onboarding and recurring training material so they are specifically defined in our process.
By following the four steps outlined in this series of articles, event venue operators will be well- prepared to create a “best- in- class” guest services program. Stylehawk has a proven track record in creating programs like this. We would love to be a resource for you as you develop your guest services processes. Please feel free to contact us. We would love to assist in whatever capacity.