{468x60.media}
Ms. Nedry

Guest Service / Customer Experience Mgmt

Key Points in Providing Exceptional Service Training for Hotel Employees

By Roberta Nedry, President and Founder, Hospitality Excellence, Inc.

Interviews are complete. New employees are hired. Orientations are scheduled. Training is about to begin. How does your organization view and define the training experience before it takes place or before it leaves the station? Who are your lead engines and how will they fuel the service attitudes and disposition that will be a lasting foundation for new employees? What criteria and guidelines should be used for trainers and those who teach the examples that will be translated into real results for guests?

Training employees can be a whole service excellence experience before training is even implemented. Trainers are role models who not only instruct service skills but instill service attitudes. Most trainers deliver procedural information that is critical to job success and show employees exactly how to perform their jobs but how many view the training function as an opportunity to also create a service excellence experience for those same employees?

How employees are treated is how they will in turn treat their guests or customers. Training, beginning from orientation, is a tremendous opportunity for employers to rev up the engines for service success. Taking time to understand, define and map out what a guest experience is and how each employee plays a critical role in defining that experience for each guest is powerful. And, employees will watch how guests respond as they are going through the training. Effective role models are effective trainers, and in turn, leaders.

I'll never forget visiting a retail store in a major hospitality venue and encountering a training session in progress. I was there as a customer, getting ready to make a significant purchase, and was actually moved aside to make room for the training group. As the new trainees became a priority, I, the guest, was "in the way" of the training session. It appeared that my interest and questions were interruptive to the training session and I was moved aside. A wall was created between these "on the job" observers and a real, live guest. The trainer of the group led this charge and was the role model of guest insignificance. She was intent on showing the group how to do their jobs and through her own example, did not show appreciation for a guest, ready to make a purchase. As a trainer, she was intent on what she needed to accomplish, with or without the guests who make the business happen. What lesson did that teach to these new team members? These new recruits may have felt temporarily important as the priority of the day but they were subconsciously learning that the guest is insignificant to the job they needed to perform. They should have been learning that the guest IS the key to the success of their job and how they manage the experience for the guest will greatly impact the results.

It all starts with defining the Guest Experience. What does any hotel or hospitality organization want guests to experience when visiting their property or venue or when using their services? Once the desired guest experience is defined, management should map out how personnel in each role can positively impact that guest experience. This should be incorporated into each job description, before candidates are even considered. A service mindset and expectation should be introduced in the interview to gage a potential employee's effectiveness in service delivery. This requires that those doing the interviews reflect that same service mindset and understanding. Just talking about it does not do the trick. An interviewer or human resources executive must fully understand what the guest experience is all about and be able to "walk the talk" before anyone is ever hired.

Once hired, the orientation of employees will continue to set the stage of how they will eventually perform "on stage." Disney recognizes the power and value of the orientation. They go above and beyond to inspire and excite employees about the huge opportunity they will have to please guests through their roles. The orientation team motivates new employees and creates a fantastic experience for them before they even go "on stage." They treat new recruits like they would soon be treating guests. They instilled the spirit of the job by making each candidate feel special each step of the hiring process. By the time, employees do go to work or "on stage" in Disney language, they are so ready, so motivated, so enthusiastic and so service-oriented. Delivering anything less than exceptional service was not an option as that is how the entire training was conducted. Are those that do orientations mechanical and perfunctory in their actions or do they truly embody what new employees will be expected to deliver? Has the routine and checklist of interviewing and orientating become too mundane or too removed from the mainstream of exceptional service delivery?

And, when training takes place outside office doors and allows new employees to interact with guests "on the job" as they are being trained, watch out as well. Many times when beginning a meal at a restaurant, two servers will present themselves. One is the regular and one is the trainee. Sometimes, the trainee is introduced and sometimes he or she is not. This is annoying. Guests may not want to be the guinea pig for training. Guests may not want to listen to explanations that talk around them instead of to them. Guests may not want the experience to take longer for the sake of the apprentice. However, if a trainee learns in advance, how to become part of the experience and minimize impact, if any, to the guest, everybody wins. The guest may actually feel like two people are a bonus rather than a hindrance. This requires the one doing the training to be more aware and proactive with the new trainee before leaving the station. Trainees should be prepped on how to interact with guests from the first point of contact, whether they are fully trained for their jobs or not. Guests can get frustrated very quickly when they are listening to trainers explain how to serve a guest right in front of them and they are that guest! Guests can feel momentarily invisible and become cargo shunted aside for the sake of training. This was my experience in the retail store mentioned earlier.

And, creating a training experience is not only for new recruits. Recurring training should get the same kind of attention and feel from trainers. People who have been on the job for awhile may need a fresh perspective and enhanced "behind the scenes" experience to get remotivated and recharged. The Training Train should be prepared to make each training moment, old or new, an exceptional service moment, an opportunity to serve internal passengers with delicious food for thought.

To ensure training gets on and stays on the right track, keep the following guidelines in mind:

Exceptional service delivery begins at the first point of contact for employees as well as guests. Make the journey a service excellence experience before it reaches the destination. Make sure each link of the track is connected for the training train. Full steam ahead for guest service!

Roberta Nedry is President and Founder of Hospitality Excellence, Inc. and has spent over 32 years exploring, delivering and managing guest and customer experiences and service training. She helps organizations to reach levels of exceptional service and regularly consults with executives and managers on transforming customer experiences. Her Hospitality Excellence Team is internationally recognized for its expertise in creating customer experience strategies that zero in on and inspire the DNA of each client yielding enhanced internal employee experiences and external customer and brand value. Ms. Nedry’s diverse background with both public and private companies allows clients to draw on her extensive career experience for business solutions. Ms. Nedry can be contacted at 877-436-3307 or roberta@hospitalityexcellence.com Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

OCTOBER: Revenue Management: Technology and Big Data

Gary Isenberg

Hotel room night inventory is the hotel industry’s most precious commodity. Hotel revenue management has evolved into a complex and fragmented process. Today’s onsite revenue manager is influenced greatly by four competing forces, each armed with their own set of revenue goals and objectives -- as if there are virtually four individual revenue managers, each with its own distinct interests. So many divergent purposes oftentimes leading to conflicts that, if left unchecked, can significantly damper hotel revenues and profits. READ MORE

Jon Higbie

For years, hotels have housed their Revenue Management systems on their premises. This was possible because data sets were huge but manageable, and required large but not overwhelming amounts of computing power. However, these on-premise systems are a thing of the past. In the era of Big Data, the cost of building and maintaining an extensive computing infrastructure is incredibly expensive. The solution – cloud computing. The cloud allows hotels to create innovative Revenue Management applications that deliver revenue uplift and customized guest experiences. Without the cloud, hotels risk remaining handcuffed to their current Revenue Management solutions – and falling behind competitors. READ MORE

Jenna Smith

You do not have to be a hospitality professional to recognize the influx and impact of new technologies in the hotel industry. Guests are becoming familiar with using virtual room keys on their smartphones to check in, and online resources like review sites and online travel agencies (OTAs) continue to shape the way consumers make decisions and book rooms. Behind the scenes, sales and marketing professionals are using new tools to communicate with guests, enhance operational efficiencies, and improve service by addressing guests’ needs and solving problems quickly and with a minimum of disruption. READ MORE

Yatish Nathraj

Technology is becoming an ever more growing part of the hospitality industry and it has helped us increase efficiency for guest check-inn, simplified the night audit process and now has the opportunity to increase our revenue production. These systems need hands on calibration to ensure they are optimized for your operations. As a manager you need to understand how these systems work and what kind of return on investment your business is getting. Although some of these systems maybe mistaken as a “set it and forget it” product, these highly sophisticated tools need local expert like you and your team to analysis the data it gives you and input new data requirements. READ MORE

Coming Up In The November Online Hotel Business Review




{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Architecture & Design: Authentic, Interactive and Immersive
If there is one dominant trend in the field of hotel architecture and design, it’s that travelers are demanding authentic, immersive and interactive experiences. This is especially true for Millennials but Baby Boomers are seeking out meaningful experiences as well. As a result, the development of immersive travel experiences - winery resorts, culinary resorts, resorts geared toward specific sports enthusiasts - will continue to expand. Another kind of immersive experience is an urban resort – one that provides all the elements you'd expect in a luxury resort, but urbanized. The urban resort hotel is designed as a staging area where the city itself provides all the amenities, and the hotel functions as a kind of sophisticated concierge service. Another trend is a re-thinking of the hotel lobby, which has evolved into an active social hub with flexible spaces for work and play, featuring cafe?s, bars, libraries, computer stations, game rooms, and more. The goal is to make this area as interactive as possible and to bring people together, making the space less of a traditional hotel lobby and more of a contemporary gathering place. This emphasis on the lobby has also had an associated effect on the size of hotel rooms – they are getting smaller. Since most activities are designed to take place in the lobby, there is less time spent in rooms which justifies their smaller design. Finally, the wellness and ecology movements are also having a major impact on design. The industry is actively adopting standards so that new structures are not only environmentally sustainable, but also promote optimum health and well- being for the travelers who will inhabit them. These are a few of the current trends in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.