Everyone in the vending, micro market and office coffee service (OCS) industry knows the importance of service. Whether it's being on time to fill vending machines or finding that hard to acquire product for a location's pantry – being there for the customer and meeting their needs is paramount. How than can any operator sell against another on service? Isn't everyone offering "service?"
Hospitality vs. Service
Recently, I read an article about the idea of service in Nation's Restaurant News. Speaker, author and consultant Jim Sullivan wrote, "Service differs from hospitality thusly: Service fulfills a need, hospitality fulfills people. You can get service from an ATM, AI, vending machine...But you don't get hospitality: smiles, sincerity, warmth, connection." This was targeted to restaurant operators, but it resonated with me, not only because it mentioned vending machines, but because I thought it could be used by operators when talking about the services they provide.
The new workplace
Imagine today's workplace. Low unemployment resulting in companies vying for the best of the best employees and dealing with constantly shifting gig workers. Companies need ways to reduce turnover, entice employees and create environments that make employees feel valued. Operators have services that can fulfill these needs. However, this can be taken a step further. These same services can create hospitality in the break room. Coffee, food, wrapped vending machines, updated lighting, high-end micro market fixtures, the addition of local snacks, etc. can be used to convey a friendly, welcoming oasis at a location. It helps people connect, recharge, eat, drink, collaborate, socialize and ultimately be more engaged. A good set of services from an operator doesn't just satisfy needs, but nourishes people.
Consider how your services could create hospitality. Is that a selling point for your business? Next time you call on a customer, or potential customer, think hospitality, and let me know if it changes the interaction.