I’ve participated in more than my share of guest service training programs over the years, and while I would not, for a moment, suggest that they weren’t beneficial, I have often wondered why everyone seems to want to over-complicate the situation, at the expense of losing site of doing the basics well.
I guess, this is an instance where I get all “old school” as it relates to what I would relate as the corner-stone of ALL good guest service, the basics, and the basis for what it means to be an “innkeeper.” (I told you I was going old school, real old school).
As far as I am concerned, since the beginning of time, a hotel was fundamentally a place where a weary traveller could get a good nights’ sleep, and things gradually evolved to include accompanying meals, and so on.
But at the root of this, was also a fundamental service philosophy that was centred around the belief that you were welcoming people into your home, and your objective was to make them feel welcome, and to enjoy their stay, whatever the circumstances of that visit.
When I am training guest service, I always come back to this principle, for a number of reasons, but probably the most important to me, is that everyone can grasp this concept, everyone.
When, as an example, I ask an employee in one of my training programs to tell me about someone special to them, and for the sake of argument, let’s say that he tells me it’s his parents, and then I start to ask probing questions centred around a fictitious visit, you can see the light bulb go on over their heads.
If your parents arrived in front of your house, would you wait and watch as they dragged their heavy bags up the stairs to your front door, or, would you go down to the curb, genuinely welcome old Mom and Dad, and offer to help them with their bags?
Once they got in the door, would you give them back their bags and tell them to go off and find their room, or, would you show them around, introduce them to your home, explain where everything was, and show them where you have them staying?
Trust me when I tell you that there is not an instance in our business where you cannot apply this logic, and, as I stated at the onset, employees get this stuff, and this makes it real for them. That, and you can usually have a lot of fun with this in a training program, and let’s face it, they haven’t invented a training program yet, regardless of the topic, where employees don’t, at some point, look like they are going to nod off.
Try it, and I promise you, you won’t be disappointed, and, you will inch your team one step closer to a truly empowered and engaged work environment.