When you’ve got an important prospect or another VIP coming to your company/organization to take a tour or experience your services, you want to make a great first impression. It’s worth taking a little time to plan, prepare and get ready to provide a red carpet guest experience.
So without further ado, I offer you….
10 Steps to providing a red carpet guest experience
- Do Your Homework: The more you know about your guest, the more you can personalize their experience. Be clear on what they hope to gain from their visit. What are their likes and dislikes? What are some topics of conversation you can connect on. It’s so easy now to learn about people via social media. However, you can also proactively ask the the questions. It can be as simple as what’s your favorite beverage or do you have a favorite desert? What would you most like to see while you’re here? The more you know in advance of their visit, the better you can prepare.
- Communicate: It takes more than one person to create an extraordinary guest experience. However, if your team doesn’t know who’s expected, they can’t prepare to make a red carpet impression. Communicate with your team. Let them know that a guest is coming, who they are, why their coming and what they can do to make them feel welcome.
- Do a Site Sweep: Of course, you always want to keep your property looking first rate. My former boss and friend Dawn used to say, “I always like to keep my house ready for a pop-in guest. However, when I’m expecting a guest, I pay a little more attention to the nooks and crannies and just add a little more polish.” When you’ve got a guest coming, walk around the property and make sure it’s red carpet ready.
- Anticipate their Needs: What information will your guest need to ensure they have a great visit? It could be step-by-step directions or parking information. Who will be meeting them and where? What will they need while they’re there? If they arrived by plane and you’re sending them home with gifts, consider offering to ship them after they leave. Anticipate their needs and wants.
- Provide a Warm Welcome: This is paramount to creating a red carpet guest experience. Make sure your entire team is ready to be proactively friendly, sharing smiles, calling your guest by name and generally making them feel welcome. Be out front to greet them. Post a welcome sign with their name on it. Some companies even literally roll out the red carpet for their guests. (Note: Do you research and know your audience. Some people like a lot of attention and others do not.)
- Offer Refreshments: As my friends at Ruby Receptionists would say, Greet, Seat and Treat! Have refreshments on hand to offer your guests. Make sure if you’re touring your building, you provide something easy to hold while walking.
- Show Interest: While they may be there to tour your building, make sure the conversation isn’t all about you and your company. Show interest in your guest and take this as an opportunity to learn more about them.
- Give them SWAG: Really want to treat your guests like stars? Stars get swag – or free gifts. What can you put together that would make your guest feel like they are receiving the star treatment?
- Personalize the Guest Experience: If you want to take that swag bag to a new level, personalize it. Use the research you did to add surprises that are exclusively meaningful for your guest. Send them home with treats for their dog. Put their name on something. Have their favorite snacks available. As my friend David Glickman would say, the more specific, the more terrific!
- Remember the Wrap Around: First impressions are critical but last impressions are…well, lasting! Follow the visit up with a thank you that impresses. A hand written note, a photo of your guest on their visit, or a photo of all the friends they met while they were with you. Keep back one extra special, personalized piece of “swag” and send it after they head home.
Follow these ten tips and you are sure to create a guest experience they can’t stop talking about! What do you think? What are your tips for rolling out the red carpet for your special guests? Comment and let me know below.
Donna Cutting is the author of 2 books on customer service including the bestselling, 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers. As the Founder and CEO of RedCarpetLearning.com, she and her team help organizational leaders engage their teams to deliver extraordinary customer experiences.