Travel numbers have increased, new destinations have appeared, technology has exploded, organizations like Uber and Airbnb have sprung up, people’s lives have become more hectic and less certain…. and yet, through all this, is it too much to ask to remember that I like to have a room with a bath, not a shower?

Quality service, human service, still makes the difference. It’s the simplest amenity to provide, the strongest impression on your guests, and the one guaranteed thing that will keep them coming back.

And yet…

Despite the fact that it is by far the best and easiest way to satisfy your customers, great service doesn’t happen on its own. It takes Great People, supported by a Vision of Service, working in a Service Culture. To provide a consistently high level of service, these three elements have to be present and balanced.

GREAT PEOPLE

Although cliché, it is still nonetheless true that it is people who make service happen. The proper amenities, technologies and processes are important, but without dedicated people who are empowered and motivated to act, these other elements won’t matter much. That authentic smile, the ability to think outside of the box to solve a guest’s problem, and the willingness to ‘go that extra mile’ …. those are the things that turn amenities and systems into that warm and fuzzy feeling of being perfectly cared for.

Although there are a few ‘naturals’ out there, most great service people are developed, not born. It’s a process of shaping kindness and generosity and supporting that with professional know-how and decorum. Identifiable by the following characteristics, service professionals are:

  • Pro-active – they consciously react and take action based on defined values, not on outer circumstances (like infuriated guests);
  • Aware of their personal circle of influence – which enables them to find creative solutions in challenging guest situations;
  • Able to actively listen to guests – instead of defending their egos.

VISION & CULTURE

Culture is one of those vague and ‘wooly’ terms, yet establishing a strong service culture has a concrete impact on how well your guests are treated. Not only can rules and regulations never cover every situation, it is culture that determines what people do when nobody is watching.

The right service culture (and note: the right service culture for you – every business and situation is unique) starts with a clear vision. This vision should simply but powerfully lay out what you wish to achieve and why. It should be aspirational. It should make sense for your context. It should be the foundation on which you build your competitive advantage. And, most importantly, it should be defined and communicated so consistently to your people that everyone understands what it means; everyone should understand how to actually implement that vision.

At Quantum, we have created a unique and effective suite of workshops, practice units, communication modules and supporting activities in which your current Service Culture is checked, evaluated and optimized to truly embody your organization’s Vision of Service.

A QUESTION OF LEADERSHIP

Creating and maintaining a strong service culture is not possible without great leadership. And if you don’t have the service culture you wish to have it is always a problem of leadership. Always.

So, training around improving guest services should probably be kicked off first with some Leadership Training. Supervisors and managers must sport the same behaviour and attitude that they wish to see in their staff.

Great Service is an attitude and based on some very profound principles of leading yourself and leading others. These principles are very effectively described in Stephen R. Covey’s work and programs based on the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. We work with local FranklinCovey organizations worldwide and have co-developed a program based on Covey’s Principles of Effectiveness, customized for the Hospitality Industry.

Know the projects…