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The truth and profit behind your service

I’m in Las Vegas, where nine of the 10 largest hotels in the world reside. Each hotel competes against the others for huge contracts: business meetings, conventions, Super Bowl, New Year’s Eve, high rollers.

Las Vegas is a one-of-a-kind destination.

Then the economy crashed, and everyone’s business significantly dropped.

Slowly, the economy is rebounding and Las Vegas is experiencing a spurt in business. But the competition is still fierce.

So what are these big hotels doing about it? The answer is pretty much nothing. Bidding wars, price reductions and other concessions are being made in order to differentiate themselves from one another and woo the big customers.

Each hotel offers amenities and attractions that are unbelievable: Broadway shows, rock concerts, prizefights, great food and accommodations, the likes of which you have never seen.

So what’s the difference? I believe every hotel is overlooking the difference. The difference is service — and the perception that someone cares — memorable service and service recovery.

Reality: These big hotels have policies. They have to in order to deal with thousands of people every day. These big hotels have procedures. They have to in order to deal with thousands of people every day.

Reality: There’s a severe lack of friendliness. There’s a severe lack of sincerity. There’s a sincere lack of attitude.

Reality: The employees take very little pride in serving. They’re just “doin’ their job for their pay.”

So much for Las Vegas. Let’s talk about you.

Your reality: If you employ people who sell, serve and talk to customers on the phone or in person, the key to their success is their attitude, their desire, their friendliness, their sincerity and their love of job.

So, the first question any employee has to ask is: How do I feel about myself? If they don’t feel good about who they are, the rest of their tasks will be executed somewhere between poor and mediocre. Their expressions, their interactions and their casual talk will all be based on negative feelings.

Not good.

The answer is simple but not simplistic. Every company — yours included — needs to change the way they look at training their people.

Most companies have training programs all about how to do a job and circumstances regarding the business —  your business. There’s zero about serving with pride, having a great attitude and feeling good about themselves first.

In order for your company to surge past your competitors and be perceived in your market and by your customers as the best, here are the 6.5 internal actions you must take starting now:

1. An ongoing positive-attitude course, something that each person perceives is for their life, not about their job.

2. A course in personal pride and ongoing events to support it. Teach your people the difference in pride between owning and renting. Encourage them to take ownership. Key idea: Recognition. Make certain that achievement and improvement are rewarded in public.

3. Benchmark how to respond to 25 specific situations. Write down the most common customer interactions and create — collaborate to uncover — best responses for each. Train these responses to everyone so that there is a common positive language.

4. Create specific empowerment. When you have finished the common language answers, empower every employee with these answers and other specific recovery options and actions they are allowed to take.

5. Establish a positive workplace environment. Replace old, worn-out stuff. Fix broken stuff. Serve free food and drink. Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Make your workplace positive so that your employees can be positive.

6. Total company involvement. Leadership must embrace the process and take the training, too. This sets the example and the environment.

6.5 The understanding that communication starts mentally. Create an awareness that each person holds the key to company morale and that a positive atmosphere starts with positive thought.

Big secret: For the past 20 years, I have espoused the philosophy and strategy of “Tell me what you can do, not what you can’t do.” This one strategy will change your responses from negative to positive.

I am willing to bet that your company could stand an injection of positive.

Happy people create positive results and vice versa. Happy people create loyal customers and unlimited profit opportunities.

How happy are your people? How positive are your people?

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.

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