Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.

Trending articles this week...

Benson Brown

While the pressure of financial success weighs on every hotelier, so, too, should the need to operate responsibly. The approach of "we're too busy today, so we'll deal with it tomorrow" no longer works. Some of the initiatives shared here can be put into place with relatively low cost. There are some financial investments in eco-friendly equipment, particularly the larger initiatives, that may take five to ten years to realize payoff, however, the benefits of operating sustainably far outweigh the short-term pain. READ MORE

Daniel Link

Sustainability is a priority in the hotel industry. Hotels work hard to reduce their carbon footprint and address their guests' growing concerns for hotels to be more environmentally friendly. However, as hotel executives introduce sustainability initiatives, they should work with their risk managers to identify how those policies can affect their workforce and workers' compensation costs. With the job market shift of an aging workforce coupled with less experience, it is imperative to identify sound claim practices to navigate the claims landscape, limit costs, and ultimately, return the employee to work to safely service your clientele. READ MORE

Library Archives

Mike Benjamin

Every hotel management team strives to create a service oriented culture. In today's fast pace world of technology, guest expectations and demands continue to go up every year. The best management teams realize that building a service oriented culture is much more than finding the right people and training them on the soft skills. Strong leaders realize hotels need to adopt technology and build a culture where preventing problems is as important as solving problems and staff are able to perform their job more effectively using the latest tools available. READ MORE

R.J. Friedlander

The methods we use have changed, but the cornerstone to great hospitality stays the same: great guest service and great guest experience. While service resolution has traditionally been in reaction to guest complaints after the fact, today we have can proactively catch issues or needs much earlier in the stay and deliver better results than ever. With the tools to gather guest feedback via a number of channels from various touchpoints and the processes to action operational and service improvements accordingly, we can leverage a combination of reactive and proactive methods to deliver exceptional guest experience. READ MORE

Robert Reitknecht

Industry leaders recognize the importance of culture and people for driving customer satisfaction in addition to technology and business processes. Hospitality organizations stand to significantly gain by focusing on these fundamentals, demonstrated by leading brands like The Ritz-Carlton and Hilton Hotels and Resorts. Research shows that engaged companies can grow profits as much as three times faster than competitors with employees who are 87% less likely to leave. Hotels must create a defined strategy for attracting, engaging and retaining the right people with the right cultural values to better compete and drive guest satisfaction. READ MORE

Mark Ricketts

In the midst of a busy day caring for guests, it is easy to get caught up in the policies and protocols of the many challenging tasks at hand. But, what happens when a novel challenge presents itself; and how do we build an organizational structure that inspires great guest service? The answer is in having a great foundation of shared values to guide our actions, inspire confidence and demonstrate that we can make a meaningful contribution to the guest experience. READ MORE

Alexander Shashou

When we look at other industries, we see how the likes of Uber and Amazon have revolutionized the face of customer service through technology. For something so important to hospitality, it's crazy to think that so little has changed. The problem is that the fragmented nature of technology used within a hotel makes operations and communication extremely challenging. It undermines staff confidence and impacts what all hotels strive for the most – an exceptional guest experience. Isn't it time for us to work with technology that bridges these silos and enables your staff to focus on what they should really be doing? READ MORE

Steve Curtin

In this article, based on an experience in October 2018 at a boutique hotel in Philadelphia, we will examine customer service quality that contradicts the organization's stated values and lofty mission statement. Too often, management assumes that the goal of managing performance is to ensure employees possess adequate job knowledge and demonstrate sufficient job skills; that is, to be deemed capable. But subpar service quality rarely has to do with frontline service providers' competency. More likely, service quality suffers due to a disconnect between employees' daily job responsibilities and an enduring organizational purpose. READ MORE

Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.