Earlier this month I spent a long weekend in Nashville, TN and it was my first exposure to traditional southern hospitality as an adult. Boy, was I impressed!
Uber drivers, museum guides, restaurant hostesses and even our Martin’s BBQ Joint cashier all exuded genuine warmth and care for my mom, sister and I. In fact, the only hourly worker, a server, who didn’t immediately impress us was a recent transplant from south jersey of all places!
At first I wondered if the twangy southern accents might be causing me to have a greater perception of service delivery than was actually being delivered. This was quickly disproved. And although the slower pace is a true stereotype, and can be irritating, especially when hungry, it was refreshing to see the genuine care being given to each customer. Nothing felt scripted and nobody was being rushed.
In fact, many of the service standards that shaped my years spent as a concierge, and now have become the foundation of my “The Art of Five Diamond” workshop, were routinely being used. Below are just some examples…
1. A warm welcome
Upon arrival to the Country Music Hall of Fame a posted worker amazed us with his larger than life greeting that included a resounding “Good Morning”
2. Anticipation of a customers’ needs
This same worker became a human arrow directing us to the ticket window which was not initially visible in the large modern museum foyer. We would have found it ourselves only a moment or two later but this above-and-beyond first impression was extremely memorable.
3. A proactive desire to help
On a rainy night our Uber driver graciously agreed to wait for us to quickly see the lobby of the Hermitage Hotel before dropping us off at the historic Ryman Auditorium for the weekly Grand Ole Opry.
4. Offering personalized services whenever possible
During a busy brunch service, our waitress took the time to point out local boutique shopping a short walk from our current destination. Highlights on a map were circled for us as an easy point of reference.
Until my next trip down south (hopefully Charleston, SC!) I will continue to derive inspiration from these firsthand encounters and I hope you do too! By taking our customer encounters just a little bit slower and genuinely meaning what we say will elevate how our customers view us.
They’ll be grinnin' like a possum eatin' a sweet tater. You’re very welcome!