The Power of "The Magic Words"

In 2016, a study was conducted by QSR about the most polite fast food chains via a Service Attributes study. Within this particular study, restaurants were scored on the percentage of times their employees made eye contact with a customer, said "please," said "thank you," smiled, had a pleasant demeanor, or if they did none of the above. Strikingly, the Chick-fil-A chain beat their competitors in every category. In 2017 a Business Insider article detailed how Chick-fil-A has beat their top competitors in revenue YOY consistently, and analysts have discovered that this coincides with their friendliness, politeness and simply because they have trained their employees to say "please" and "thank you" sincerely to their customers.

Whether a restaurant, hotel, resort or vacation rental management company, it all falls under the hospitality umbrella and is transferable. At the end of the day the important outcome for each business is the happiness of their customers and guests, because without that there is no repeat business. Within hospitality we are very familiar with the customary statements such as:

1. "Enjoy your stay."

2. "We look forward to welcoming you again."

3. "Let us know if you need anything during your stay."

4. "How was your stay?"

However, as hospitable as hospitality can be, is there a consistent effort to genuinely say "thank you" to our guests, or to say "please" when we give a statement or ask something of the guest? Let's look at how those customary statements might be transformed:

1. "Please, enjoy your stay."

2. "Thank you so much for staying with us, we look forward to welcoming you again."

3. "Please let us know if you need anything at all during your stay."

4. "How was your stay?" ....then responding with "Thank you so much, we love to hear great feedback" or "Please allow me to..."

While simple, it adds in that extra touch of excellence that might be missing. This is crucial

towards maintaining Forbes standards as well, and especially if you are a 4 or 5 star hotel or resort, each interaction should include a pleasantry such as "please" or "thank you." Doing so reinforces to the guest that you respect and value not only their business, but their whole person. Another key area that this should be implemented is within the Reservations department.

There is an old misunderstood study by Professor Albert Mehrabian (that many call centers cite) stating that over the phone communication is only 7% "what you say" and 93% "how you say it." This is entirely wrong because, simply put, Professor Mehrabian was not studying how this went into play in every day conversation, but simply the impact of a single word in verbal communication. So, if you've been standing by this old adage, it's time to toss it aside. It is not relevant and forces us to focus on how we say things more often than what we're saying. It is, without a doubt, vital that your Reservations agents are tuned into not only their tone of voice, but also what they're saying. Are they saying "please" and "thank you?" Or are they simply focusing on their tone of voice?

Some common areas where pleasantries can easily apply and make a world of difference are:

1. "Can I have your card number/address/name?"

2. "What dates are you looking for?"

3. "How many guests will there be?"

4. "Have a great day."

Alternatives would be:

1. "May I please have your card number/address/name?" .... "Thank you!"

2. "Could I please have the dates you are interested in?" .... "Thank you!"

3. "How many guests will there be, please?" ...."Thank you!"

4. "Please enjoy the rest of your day and thank you for calling!"

Now this might feel repetitive in nature to thank the caller after gathering every tiny detail, but when it's implemented it becomes second nature and natural. Think of it this way, if you were asking the guest to hand you something you would likely thank them each time they handed you the item. It's no different over the phone; you are asking for a piece of information and thus should thank them when they provide it.

Think of the areas within your business or job where you can implement a dedication to saying "please" and "thank you" to your guests. It will take time, but as Chick-fil-A has proven, simple pleasantries and saying the "magic words" truly does produce guest experience magic.

Interested in how you can implement this into your business? We'd love to help! Contact All Heart Consulting today to get started!

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