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Elevating Your Service Game with Unreasonable Hospitality 

 I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Will Guidara, former co-owner of Eleven Madison Park, a restaurant that earned three Michelin stars and was named the best in the world in 2017. Our conversation centered around the concept of “unreasonable hospitality,” which is the central theme of Will’s best-selling book and the guiding philosophy behind his success in the restaurant industry. 

As I listened to Will share his insights and experiences, I couldn’t help but think about how these principles could be applied to the automotive industry, specifically in dealership Service Departments. In this blog post, I want to share some of the key takeaways from our discussion and explore how embracing unreasonable hospitality can help you elevate your service game.

attracting new customers

The Power of Going Above and Beyond 

At the core of unreasonable hospitality is the idea of going above and beyond for your customers. It’s about anticipating their needs, exceeding their expectations, and creating moments of surprise. As Will puts it, “It’s not about doing what’s expected; it’s about doing what’s unexpected.” 

In the Service Department, this could mean greeting customers by name, offering complimentary refreshments, or providing a loaner car without them having to ask. It’s the little touches that show you care and make customers feel valued. 

Creating a Culture of Excellence 

Implementing unreasonable hospitality starts with creating a culture of excellence within your team. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to set the standard and inspire your team to deliver exceptional service consistently. 

Will shared a story about how his father, who was also in the restaurant industry, taught him the importance of leading by example.  

“My dad showed me firsthand what integrity looks like,” he said. “He taught me the power of intention, which for him was not an option, it was a requirement.” 

To build a culture of excellence in your Service Department, you need to lead with intention and integrity. This means setting clear expectations, providing ongoing training and support, and recognizing and rewarding top performers. 

The Art of Making Connections 

Another key aspect of unreasonable hospitality is the art of making connections with your customers. It’s about treating them as individuals, not just transactions, and taking a genuine interest in their lives and needs. 

Will talked about how his team at Eleven Madison Park would go to great lengths to learn about their guests before they even arrived at the restaurant. They would research their interests, preferences, and any special occasions they might be celebrating, and use that information to create personalized experiences. 

In the Service Department, you can apply this same approach by taking the time to get to know your customers and their vehicles. Ask about their driving habits, their favorite features, and any concerns they might have. Use that information to tailor your recommendations and create a more personalized service experience. 

Embracing the Power of Positive Obsession 

Throughout our conversation, Will and I kept coming back to the idea of positive obsession – the kind of obsession that drives you to pursue excellence relentlessly and make a meaningful impact in your work. 

“I think you can indulge an obsession without it coming at the sacrifice of other things,” Will said. “Even obsession can be treated with moderation.” 

In the service department, this means being obsessed with delivering exceptional customer service, building a strong team culture, and continuously improving your processes and procedures. It’s about channeling your passion and dedication into creating unforgettable experiences for your customers and your team. 

Putting It All Together 

Implementing the principles of unreasonable hospitality in your dealership’s Service Department won’t happen overnight. It requires a commitment to excellence, a willingness to go above and beyond, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact on your customers and your team. 

But the payoff is worth it. By embracing unreasonable hospitality, you can differentiate your dealership from the competition, build lasting relationships with your customers, and create a culture of excellence that inspires your team to deliver their best every day. 

Beyond Unreasonable 

If you’re ready to take your service game to the next level and create unforgettable customer experiences, I invite you to book a 15-minute strategy session with my team. During this call, we’ll discuss your specific challenges and goals, and share some of the proven strategies I’ve used to help dealerships across the country implement the principles of unreasonable hospitality in their Service Departments. 

Don’t settle for mediocrity. Embrace the power of unreasonable hospitality and start elevating your service game today.

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