Welcoming = Welcome in. Even on your way out.
You’re walking into a store and an employee smiles at you signaling they saw you.
You walk, no one acknowledges you – you feel ignored.
You get off an Uber by the hotel entrance and someone opens the door for you “welcome”, with a smile.
You get off your ride and the bell boy is talking on the phone completely ignoring you.
You call your doctor and the secretary, right after you said hello, realizes it is you and you hear her voice perks up realizing it was you.
You call to set an appointment, she picks up while…..still talking to someone next to her making you feel like she is doing you a favor speaking to you.
Picking up your car at the hotel valet (first time at this hotel) and the valet, after bringing your car, opens the door and says: thank you MR. ZAIBERT, have a wonderful day.
The valet brings the car for you, gets out of the car and simply continues to the next customer.
And here is another one. You check into a hotel. Make it to the elevator. Open the door. You are in. Nice, clean room. All good. NOTHING bad. NOTHING negative. All as expected. If asked later about your experience you would probably say something like – yeah, was OK, was as expected. But what if, you got into the room and as you walked in you got a text message from the hotel welcoming you to the hotel and furthermore, offering you a way to communicate via text should you need to.
Many (many) years ago I took a train ride from NYC to Boston on a hot August day. First time ever on that route. Was still very new in the US so felt a bit out of my comfort zone (that’s right, even though pretty wide and with some grey areas, I also have a comfort zone). Was on my way to meet a colleague to explore the city together preparing for a new tour we were going to lead a few weeks later. To this day I remember the emotional wave when I saw him waiting for me with a cold yummy Strawberry and Mango smoothie. Ever since that interaction, I make it a habit, when I meet someone at the airport for example, and I am waiting for them, I get them their favorite coffee or simply water. Nothing bad would have happened if I would simply wait and be there but why not, with very little effort, make it a positive one.
Allow me to break this down for us here:
1. That initial touch-point. Those first 2 seconds, will determine the entire experience. This is emotional relevance 101. If it is a positive one or a negative one, that first contact of the interaction will impact the overall experience.
2. If there is no negative impression on the first few seconds it does not mean it is a positive one. Read this 3 times and think about it for a minute – Not bad is not good either!
3. Surprise and Delight – a good friend of mine, Joe H, taught me that. Small little things, personalized, possibly emotional along your journey, whatever it may be, make a hell of an impact. And the journey could be that walk into the store, the call to your doctor. The very short interaction with the valet. Whatever.
4. YOU can control that first touch point which means you can control the entire experience.
Wait what???? That’s right!! YOU can control it. Not only that, you can automate it. Make it personal. Make it memorable. And if you can, then why not make the effort.
Went to try this spin class near by at a place called CycleBar. Finished the session (barely breathing, barely walking and all but hey, came third overall in the class…). The girl who works at the front desk waited by the door with cold towels rolled up on a silver tray. Did not expect that (surprise). That initial impact during that specific touch-point started with this small yet surprising and delighting moment which made me remember the class and CycleBar in a very positive manner. Changed and got into the car. Turned my phone on, peeked at my emails. An email just came in, from……CycleBar. Thanking me personally for the class, giving me MY stats: how many calories I burned, how long I was cycling for, my rank in class (settled for 3rd) and……are you ready???? A link to today’s class playlist!!!!!!!!!
BOOM!!!! And this was when I was on my way out!
Welcoming happens through every interaction. Not just when you walk in.
Did anyone actually press a button to send me that email? Did anyone manually go to collect the data for me and the other 5 people in the class (just kidding, 3rd out of 24)? It was all setup intelligently ahead of time. It was personalized for me, relevant for me, delighted for me!
The following week I went to check out this new Pilates place in our neighborhood. Teacher was good. Welcomed us with a smile. Explained everything well. Session was good. Cannot say anything negative about it. BUT…..I also, cannot remember the name of the place…..
"Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were." Source: Unknown
So whether you are a doctor, tech company, physical therapist (that’s for you Lamar), a dentist (Dr. Buxton – congrats on the new place in Denver), a trainer, whatever – plan ahead, use available technology to use and automate some Welcoming. And welcome them in.
Even….when they are on their way out!
You’re welcome (in)!