Great Guest Experience Teams Pay Attention to What’s Out of Sight

…at least, out of their line of sight.

Spatial awareness and quick reactions aren’t just characteristics of great athletes – they are absolutely necessary to exceeding your Guest’s expectations.

Micah Solomon, a leading authority on customer service excellence,  always has great advice – both in a regular column at Forbes.com and his books Exceptional Service, Exceptional ProfitHigh-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service and his most recent, The Heart of Hospitality.

I recently read the following phrase, and it jumped off the page at me:

The waiter with no peripheral vision.

Solomon goes on to explain that in comparing two team members with equal skills and service standards, the one who exhibits peripheral vision will be the more successful one, and, surprisingly, attributes peripheral vision to understanding the difference between Purpose and Function.

Could that be true in your Guest Experience Teams as well?

Here’s how Solomon differentiated the two:

Every team member has a job function, and a purpose in (and of) the organization. The function is what’s written, in detail, on the team member’s job description. It’s the technical side of the job.

A team member’s purpose is something different. The purpose is the reason you’re doing all the technical things, and sometimes stepping out of your technical role to do whatever it takes.

That’s peripheral vision – seeing beyond the obvious, noticing what’s outside the very center of your gaze.

  • It’s a Parking Team member noticing steam coming out from under the hood of a parked car – and volunteering to repair the cracked hose while the family attends the worship experience.
  • It’s a Greeter noticing a young mother struggling with an active toddler while trying to maneuver an infant stroller through the crowd – and asks if he can push the stroller for the mother.
  • It’s an Usher being sensitive to the unspoken request of a worship attender – and seating them to accommodate a special need.

When your Guest Experience Team members exhibit peripheral vision, they are going beyond their “job” and serving the people out of a sense of purpose and mission that undergirds all they do.

Is it time for your Guest Experience Teams to have a “vision check?”

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