I picked this book up last week because I have been working on my staff training and mentoring presentations regarding hospitality and service. These are often incorporated into my routine, monthly training sessions with various staff teams, and are used to remind about or review certain successes and / or failures over the previous month. The source of the review information is almost always derived from guest feedback, either directly or more often these days via a social media platform such as Yelp, Facebook or Open Table.
A colleague and I had been discussing some points about the current state of affairs with hiring, demeanor and attitude of staff and had suggested a couple of books for reference. I was actually not looking for this but came across it online and picked it up - it was not very expensive and is fairly quick reading at under 100 pages. This book quickly covers most everything - from dress codes to building loyalty - in a very concise manner.
Looking specifically on how to consider the changing landscape of buying power form the Baby-Boomer segment that has dominated life for decades at this point, to the new power-house generation - millennials - is definitely something to consider for anyone in marketing, hospitality or retail; things are just different now, in case you have not noticed.
We all know that cell-phones with constant access to information, prices, reviews and everything else they give us these days is both a blessing a bit of a curse. Millennials though have not really ever experienced a world where anything was different than that, so it definitely takes a new mind-set when interacting with this generation and their standards of service and hospitality expectations.
Micah Solomon breaks this down effectively and really works through the topics that are important to consider. Perhaps most importantly is the basic statistic of the massive buying power this generation has. Often, established businesses still assume the Baby-Boomers are the most important demographic to consider with specifics to their marketing strategies, but this is definitely changing. Millennial incomes and spending ability is massive, and will only continue to expand as they get older and farther into their careers.
The book then moves through several other chapters on how to specifically deal with aspects of marketing and technology and expectations this generation considers important. Speed of delivery of the service or product (thanks Amazon), and the ability to provide a clear and genuine background or review of the product or experience is also very critical to this generation. I know I (as a genuine Gen-Xer) am disappointed when I have wait more than a couple days for something to show up on my doorstep after its been ordered. It's more than instant gratification - it's about the practical changes in our shopping habits that have been fundamentally altered for ever. Part of this is that there is no disappointment in not having a product available. I used to go to the store for something and if it was not there - to another store possibly or just a change of plan. Today, its online and you can almost always find what you need and it will be delivered in a day or so. This is a much different way to shop, and conversely to market and create a supply-chain for anyone in retail. It also creates a much different thought process when it comes to the review of that delivery or service, and the instant ability to comment on everything.
The book concludes with a couple chapters dealing with the need for transparency, and the changing state of values of millennials from older generations. There is essentially a checklist of thoughts and critical points important to millennials, and is a good review for anyone in the business of selling something. The book finishes with tips on how to build loyalty, and I think the biggest lesson here is to make sure you have and practice the ability to "see" your guests and use that as a tool to build loyalty.
In the wine business, I have spoken for years about how older generations are much more brand loyal, but that younger drinkers are focused on the new experiences not being brand loyal offers. This has lead to a proliferation of brands in the wine business (and craft beer) segment. Being able to see your guest, and letting them see you, builds the loyalty and following of those you have in the seats at the moment, and it gets them to post about it to their social circle, which in turns drives additional guests to your business. Its hard but we have to really work at this, especially in the restaurant business where simply putting out good product is not enough, anymore. We have to create experiences with unique menus, creative wine lists, and exciting or innovative location designs. By doing this we make the customer/guest the star, which is really the point suggested by Micah in this book. To me it sounds a bit like everyone wins - but then again this is the millennial generation being discussed.
Review by Brian Mitchell
This book was purchased on Amazon, and I have not been paid to review or write about it in any way. I do accept promotional copies of books or other products and will always mention if they were given verses being purchased. To buy a copy of this week's book, click on the cover above to find it online. If you do buy through the link above, I will receive a small commission from Amazon.
ABOUT THE Author
Brian Mitchell runs The New England Wine Academy, and is responsible for the content of this blog. With 30 years of drinks industry experience, Brian has learned a few things, but everyday he is learning more. This blog helps to bring that knowledge to you.