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.

What to Include in a Loyalty Program

Loyalty Program pic
Loyalty Program
Image: entrepreneur.com

A multi-industry executive with experience across the United States, John B. Richards is the former chief executive officer of the Joint Corp., a chiropractic network headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. At several points in his career, John B. Richards helped drive business growth and brand loyalty via loyalty programs.

In marketing circles, loyalty programs are one of the most commonly used strategies for building a regular customer base and attracting new customers. Customers join loyalty programs because they want to establish a relationship with the company in question, so long as there is additional value beyond a single transaction. As such, loyalty programs must provide access to new products and service offerings. Loyalty programs may also provide incentives for members to engage with new offerings.

Convenience also plays an important role in customer loyalty programs. Companies can improve convenience by offering services such as online payment and express pickup, which saves customers time and creates an overall positive experience.

Building a Brand is Essential

Building a Brand  pic
Building a Brand
Image: entrepreneur.com

The former president of North American operations at Starbucks Coffee, John B. Richards has been instrumental in structuring and scaling up many organizations at which he has been employed. Some of his accomplishments include building brands through service, such as with Four Seasons Hotels. During John B. Richards’ tenure as CMO and EVP of operations, the hotel’s portfolio was extended from eight to 42 hotels and from three to 22 countries. With this expansion, the brand-awareness of the hotel group rose from 20 to 80 percent, surpassing that of Ritz-Carlton as a premier luxury chain.

Building a brand involves a process of creating awareness through adopting strategies that boost the value of the company to consumers. Branding is establishing the identity of a product. It could be the name, icon, design, or a combination of these that separates the product from others like it. Hence, the brand is the symbol of the product or the company, and is an integral part of business development.

The brand is also about the features or services that make people choose one company over another. This is determined by the impression that the company makes on customers. One study claims that about 60 percent of customers generally choose to pay more for a better experience, even in a negative economy. Therefore, developing a good strategy for branding is one of the most important decisions in any business.