The Four Seasons Model of Customer Service

Four Seasons Model pic
Four Seasons Model
Image: fourseasons.com

Drawing upon extensive experience in the retail and service industries, John B. Richards provides strategic direction that leads to business expansion. For 10 years, John B. Richards served as Executive Vice President of Four Seasons Hotels, helping build the company from eight to 42 properties during his tenure.

Part of the reason for the global success of Four Seasons is its service culture, which has four elements:

1. Who we are. Four Seasons defines itself as a leading entity in the hospitality industry that focuses on the quality of its service and locations. In doing so, the company satisfies the needs of its customers and positions itself as a leading hospitality brand.

2. What we believe. A belief that the company’s people are its most important asset is critical at Four Seasons. All employees have a sense of pride in everything they do, and they carry themselves with dignity as they work together to achieve the company’s larger aims.

3. How We Succeed. At Four Seasons, success is defined as achieving a reasonable profit while providing benefits to guests, employees, and the hotel owners.

4. How we behave. Operating on the idea of “do unto others as you have would have them do unto you,” Four Seasons treats guests, employees, and business partners with respect and a professional attitude.

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Advice for Scaling a Service Business

Scaling a Service Business pic
Scaling a Service Business
Image: forbes.com

John B. Richards is an accomplished business executive who has served in senior management and executive roles for a number of service businesses, including Starbucks Coffee Company. During his tenure at Starbucks, John B. Richards grew annual store openings from 285 to 410, first as the company’s president, retail North America and later as the president of Starbuck’s North American operations. Scaling a service business is a difficult task so here is some basic advice.

1. Sell one thing many times. A service business’ model is based on selling one, or a limited number, of products multiple times to the same customers. As such, companies must provide a service that fosters brand loyalty and must consider how to sell a single product in a variety of ways.

2. Finding the right people. As a service business manager, you likely have core competencies, such as sales ability. However, the demands of operating the business will often mean that you only put a small amount of your time into that core competency. As such, finding the right people who can commit 100 percent of their time to specific areas of the business facilitates growth. Create teams based on the core facets of the business and ensure the members of those teams understand their objectives and receive the tools needed to focus their efforts on driving their departments forward.