When it comes to GRATITUDE in customer service, the words “thank you” have almost become a rote response to tourists as they leave your place of business. It is a gracious and correct response, of course, but too often we forget to acknowledge these same visitors with a simple “hello” when they arrive - not with a distant “wherever you are” - hello from across the room but a look-in-your-face - hello! If tourists do not sense that they are welcome in the first place, they are not likely to buy ~ to say nothing of returning.
Employees play an important role in creating that positive first impression for visitors and circumventing potential customer service problems. They are face-to-face with customers in the aisles, behind the counter, at the cash register and drive-up window often when the owner is not around or available. Regardless of their age or experience, employees typically follow the lead of their employer. If they see the owner engaged in greeting customers and thanking them for coming, employees are likely to act in the same way.
Successful shop owners and managers take the time to acknowledge their employees on a regular basis, too.
Rewarding employees with a simple “thank you” for a job well done at the end of each day can have a positive effect on both morale and productivity. Sadly, most of the time owners get so caught up with their day-to-day responsibilities that they forget to acknowledge the efforts of their greatest asset. It behooves business owners to recognize their employees on a regular basis. After all, they could easily be working for other companies (e.g. your competition) – even in a poor job market - and your appreciation for their efforts can inspire greater loyalty and dedication. Simply put, they will care more about your business if you show that you care more about them.
Your customers and employees are your two greatest assets. It is important that everyone practices the three “tudes” of good hospitality: Attitude, Latitude and Gratitude and YOU are the greatest teacher!
But wait! Before you nod your head in agreement and pass this message off as something you already knew….think about taking GRATITUDE to the next level.
There’s a greater personal role you can play in the revitalization of your Main Street. When you visit neighboring shops that have been recently upgraded or local eateries where conditions are immaculately clean, take the time to show your gratitude - not just this day, not just this month – even if you don’t make a purchase. Every time you find that someone has taken the time to go the extra mile to make your visit and YOUR town special, express your gratitude. Your appreciation might just be what they need to help keep their spirit alive and their businesses open.
Be kinder than normal to others – for everyone may be fighting some sort of battle.
Make sure your community does everything needed to make it easy for new tourism-related businesses to open up on your Main Street as well. Welcome their energy and ideas even if they don’t agree with yours.
Visit the worst eyesores in town. You know. The eyesores you pass by every day and look the other way.
Take the time to get to know the owners. Invite them to become involved in your tourism efforts in a non-threatening manner. Their perception usually improves when they realize how their property can contribute to the community and how they can be part of the equation. And don’t forget to show appreciation for what they have already done correctly.
If they decline to be involved, find out why?
The demise of their property might be the result of a lack of time or energy. If so, see what it would take to make things better for them. Perhaps a team of volunteers extending a helping hand could make a difference.
Just like with well-trained, loyal employees, it’s easier to keep what you have than it is to find replacements. Timely and frequent expressions of gratitude can go a long way in taking your tourism over the top.
UPCOMING SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS:
North Dakota Travel Industry Conference April 15 - 17, 2013:
- Workshop: Growing Tourism through Business Development
- Keynote: Heritage Tourism Development – The Story, The Assets & The Logistics
See our NEW Programs listed on our Website: Heritage Tourism Development - Jacqueline L. Evans
Called "The Patron Saint of Small Towns" by Iowa Commerce Magazine
John Poimiroo, Deputy Secretary of (CA) Tourism said:
"I was so impressed by your emphasis on sustaining heritage tourism as an economic development tool."