EP #8 – The Customer Experience Hamburger with Steve DiGioia

Steve Digioia joins Susan Pannazzo on the Hospitality Academy podcast to talk about cusotmer experience, and more!What do customer experience and a hamburger have in common?

Hospitality industry veteran, Steve DiGioia explains that a great customer experience is like a hamburger…it comes in 4 parts.  Each part cannot stand alone, all must work together to complete the experience.

Steve talks about how each of those parts impacts the overall guest experience, from the top bun (the warm greeting) to the bottom bun (the fond farewell) and all that’s in-between, including the meat (the interaction) and all the toppings (the WOW factor.)

It’s a terrific metaphor for the guest experience and for the four essential ways we can take care of them while they are with us. Listen in for all of that and more on episode 8 of Hospitality Academy!

Essential Learning Points:

  • The two reasons people go out to eat: what are they and why does it matter?
  • How to embrace technology to your company’s benefit.
  • Why owning the problem can actually build customer loyalty.
  • Why following up is so important to success.
  • What’s the best leadership advice he received?
  • And much more!

As a 25 + year veteran of the hospitality industry, Steve knows what it takes to create a great customer experience. He is currently the Area Director of Training at Crystal Springs Resort  and has an extensive background working with a variety of hotel brands, including Crowne Plaza, Hilton and Westin properties.

And he shares his insights on his website, Stevedigioia.com. On his blog several times a week he delivers thoughtful insights on the topics of leadership and customer service.

He’s also a published author. His book “Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift…Even If You’re a Bad Waiter” is an easy-to-follow training method that can be used across all industries, resulting in better customer retention and repeat business for your company.  It’s the blueprint for teaching “WOW” customer service.

Steve and I talk about his early introduction to the world of hospitality, and the four parts of the customer experience and how to create a memorable time for your guests using each layer.

Steve first started in the restaurant industry as a prep cook when he was 15. His stepfather had worked for a chef at a restaurant in Chicago called The Bakery Restaurant. It was a well-known establishment and after Steve’s stepdad was done as their prep cook he continued a friendship with the head chef over the years. Steve spent a summer working there thanks to that relationship.

That experience marked the beginning of Steve’s hospitality experience, and even though he stepped out of the industry for a little while in the early days of his career he returned and has stayed for over 20 years!

And one thing he’s learned along the way is what he calls the hamburger experience. It has four parts like a good hamburger: the top bun, the meat, the toppings and the bottom bun.

The top bun is your customer’s first interaction with your organization: this is the warm, sincere greeting they receive when they come to your place of business. This greeting should be as friendly and professional as possible.

The next is the meat or the actual customer interaction. If they are at your restaurant their actual meal is what they want and is suited to their needs. If they are checking in to your hotel the check-in process goes smoothly and they are taken care of.

The third is the toppings: this is the wow factor. If they really enjoyed their meal offer to introduce them to the chef. Or, if they loved the wine they drank offer to show them your wine cellar. If they are walking out in the rain with their packages offer to walk with them and cover them under an umbrella. Do something extra to make them say “wow” and have them feel extra special.

And finally is the bottom bun or showing your appreciation for their patronage. Don’t usher them out before they are done. Don’t move them along faster during their check out so you can get to the next guest. Remember they are yours until they leave your property! Make their good-bye as warm and friendly as your hello was. If you do all of this last step (and the previous three) they will leave having had a remarkable visit to your location.

Steve gives examples of each of these parts of the hamburger on today’s episode along with an example of the best customer service he’s received, plus the best leadership advice he has learned. Listen in for all of that and more on today’s episode of Hospitality Academy!

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Important Links & Mentions From This Episode:

Steve Digioia’s website
Steve Digioia on LinkedIn
Steve Digioia on Twitter
Crystal Springs Resort
Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift…Even If You’re a Bad Waiter by Steve Digioia