“Pardon me for speaking while you’re interrupting.” Ever hear that one? Or do you wish you thought fast enough to say it to somebody else? Sometimes a conversation is like arm-wrestling.
According to Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
One day I found a great way to get somebody to listen, at least on their cell phone. I called a friend early one morning. As soon as the person answered, I said, “Uh oh! Please turn of your camera, I don’t want to see that!”
Yup. Got their attention. If you try it, just be sure they have fresh batteries in their pacemaker.
Listening isn’t just silence while the other person speaks. Listening has to be real interest, the desire to be fascinated. Every conversation has to have two good listeners.
In business, it is even more important to be a good listener. Probably the best known advice ever given to business owners was coined 110 years ago by Harry Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s Department Store in London, dramatized in ITV’s 2013 series, Mr Selfridge. He said, “The customer is always right.”
Robert Half, a mid-twentieth century pioneer in professional innovation said, “When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” A wise business owner will always tell the customer, “As you like it, that’s the way you’ll get it.”
You can buy just about anything in the size you like, the flavor you like, the color you like, and you can even say, “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce.”
Probably the most important example of striving for customer satisfaction, is when it gets personal. You really have to trust the people where you sleep and eat to make sure they make it the way you like it.
This week’s cover-story writer, Stephanie McCraw, spent some time getting to know the people who just opened the new DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in downtown Jamestown.
Hospitality is another way to say, “As you like it.” The hospitality industry is the universe of people who, in a world there are a million other ways to make a living, follow their passion to make you and me comfortable when we’re nowhere near the comforts of out own homes.
Hospitality is a conversation in which people are specifically, intentionally listening to you to find out what you need and want. They answer you with comfort, security, and – they hope – delight.
With the world coming to Jamestown’s door more and more these days, our local hospitality industry is one of the most important greeters at our front door. Please accept Stephanie’s and the DoubleTree’s invitation to sample their hospitality, whether for accommodations, dining, entertainment, or a convenient and comfortable place to meet right downtown. Remember the song?
The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares
So go downtown, things’ll be great when you’re
Downtown, no finer place for sure
Downtown everything’s waiting for you.
That’s downtown Jamestown – As you like it.
Enjoy your town – and enjoy the read.