An airport lounge Reader’s Digest led me to Michael Lynn. He’s a psychologist and professor at New York’s Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration who majors on studying why people tip. One outcome of his work is to deduce how servers in restaurants can increase end of meal gratuities received. His top five tips for boosting tips?
- introduce yourself at the start with your firstname
- crouch next to table to take order
- lightly touch customer (on arm/shoulder)
- draw a smiley face on the bill
- give a couple of sweets with the bill
These are interesting in terms of how naked the pursuit of tips is relative to selling oneself. One of my underlying themes when solution selling is to sell myself first, my company second, and then only the product itself a distant third.
Prof Lynn’s findings seem to back this up. The quality of food is only weakly related to the size of tip, for instance.
The last pair are intriguing too aren’t they? What do you do when you deliver your bill? If your equivalent of ‘bill’ is emailing the invoice for client sign-off before forwarding it on to a purchase ledger clerk, then what’s your ‘smiley face’ and how can you add your sweetie?