Hospitality: The “What Have You Done For Me Lately” Industry

...yesterday's service awards won't help your upset customer today!

The hospitality industry is the most unique in the business world because we don’t sell a product. We sell “service.”

what have you done for me lately

Whether it’s the hotel rooms, the soothing spa, a great Olympic-sized pool or multiple fantastic restaurants throughout a resort, they mean nothing to the guest if the overall experience is lacking.

Today’s hospitality industry is not about numbers, at least to the guests, it’s all about how we make you feel, what the experience is like. When you take your hard-earned money and spend it in a hotel, you wish to be taken into “another world” where the troubles of your day melt away.  Think Disney World…

We expect those tending to us have anticipated our needs and planned properly for each interaction we will have.

The level of professionalism is usually higher in the hospitality industry and proper etiquette is at the forefront of what we must use. The words we speak have a different meaning. We don’t say “no problem” to a person that says thank you to us, we say “it was my pleasure” or “I’m happy to help” or of course “you’re welcome”.

Any negative phrases must be replaced with those that nurture a positive atmosphere.

A guest isn’t concerned about the issues we face, example: if the shirt we wish to purchase from a clothing store is not available in our size we will either do without it or look elsewhere for something similar. But as a guest in a hotel that can’t dine in one of their busy restaurants because they are over-booked, understaffed and not able to feed the throngs of guests that are entrusted to them, they will not have that option.

We must anticipate each and every detail of the needs wants and desires of the guests we host.  When we don’t, we fail.  This is a very unforgiving industry.

Two key points to remember:

For someone to be successful there must be a conscious desire to serve others. Click To Tweet

Having a one-call resolution attitude is a must! Click To Tweet

You must:

  • Be unwilling to “pass on” an unhappy guest to another employee for fix the issue
  • Ensure you will see the issue through to its satisfactory end.

We all speak of the “WOW” service that should be provided but what that means to one is different to another.

It can be as simple as helping one with their bags as they walk to their car, or the unexpected turn-down service in their room. It can be providing a behind-the-scenes look at the kitchen after a guest has enjoyed their fantastic meal or as little as using their name 2-3 times during an interaction.

But all of your great plans are meaningless when one, just one, customer has a bad experience.  Your past great deeds are not taken into account.  Your service awards are just a plaque on the wall and your wonderful letters of recommendation can’t soothe the disappointment of the customer, your guest, that is now upset.

What have you done for me lately?  No…what will you do for me today, right now, to make my stay better?

➤Leave a comment below and add to the discussion, thanks.

This article was originally featured on Bizcatalyst360 and reprinted here with permission.

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Copyright © 2018 Steve DiGioia

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6 thoughts on “Hospitality: The “What Have You Done For Me Lately” Industry

  1. Steve: Aside from great service, we are the dream merchants of our guest. We provide that memorable experience that they can take home and savor for the next time..

  2. Having worked in the hospitality industry, I know exactly what you mean, Steve. I worked with best –Disney– and I would happily return!
    Currently, I work customer service in a small community college bookstore as a supervisor ( of one–myself!), and — no lie!–I carry the Disney attitude even now. I think of everyone who comes in to visit and/or purchase as a Guest, looking forward to a great Experience and it would be up to me to Exceed their Expectations in giving them my best while they are here. When they leave, I ask them to come back soon. It isn’t very hard to do!

    • As we all know Lisa, your Disney training will take you, and your guests, far. But most don’t have the luxury of that experience. This is why today’s workforce gets bogged-down in the day-to-day foibles of their lives and allow that to interfere with their job.

      Take well care of me yesterday, that’s great, thank you. Screw-up today, yesterday is all forgotten.

      • Steve, when I started in as a supervisor, I was given very little-if any- training by those who supervise me. It was more,”here’s the location, this is the register code –have at it”. I had more help from our book buyer, when she came up to reset the bookshelves for the semester, than I did from my supervisor as to how to do things. There are still quite a few procedures, I am sure, of which I have no knowledge. In this instance, I dread the day when I make some sort of mistake with a customer due to my lack of knowledge – and then have my supervisor tell me what course of action I should have taken after the fact. Yes, it will be very handy to know for the next time, but the fact remains that a customer was unsatisfied. As you can tell, we really don’t have a training team within the bookstore. In point of fact, when I worked at the Main Campus location, I mentioned as much to my supervisor and her supervisor. They both liked the idea of what I proposed for new-hires, but both claimed that there “wouldn’t be enough time to implement a basic training program.” Fine… when a customer comes in and asks to speak with the store manager and a cashier on duty doesn’t know who that is – let alone where his office is – well, that just makes us look downright incompetent. I did try…

        • Too many businesses believe that training, and I mean REAL training, is not worth the payroll dollars. Add this to being inexperienced, weak and micro-managed, and it leads to series of bad customer experiences.

          It may be time to take your issue up the chain of command…and look for a resolution.

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