Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Simplicity of Service

Have you ever noticed how, sometimes at least, the simplest thing can have an unexpected impact on you?

And, how sometimes the best examples of service can seemingly be the simplest?

Case in point . . .

I live in a new condominium complex in a newer, developing area, where, arguably, there has been quite a bit of development in the last 3 – 5 years.

As a result, my building, which is generally smaller and more intimate, and includes about 60 units in all, is only about 50% sold at this point.

And as a result of this situation, the newspaper carrier won’t go to the trouble to access the building to deliver my newspaper to the door (because I am 1 of only 2 tenants receiving this particular National newspaper at this time).  Instead, they drop it outside the main front door of the complex.

I like to read the local and National newspapers early every morning before I go for my morning run.

So, every morning when I get up, I throw on some clothes and I stumble down to the street to get my newspaper from outside, and some days, as you would expect, it’s raining or very cold, or both.

Now, this isn’t the end of the world or anything, and I have managed to survive this situation.

But recently, a new caretaker started for our building, and he gets in pretty early to start cleaning the main lobby and other public areas of the complex.

I know this because shortly after he started I started finding my newspaper neatly folded on a little corner table in the corner of the lobby every morning.

I didn’t immediately know who was doing this because the caretaker can be anywhere in the building, and all of a sudden my paper just started miraculously appearing on this table every morning.

Then one day, I happened down into the lobby just as he was coming in the building, and I saw him unwrapping my newspaper and carefully placing it on the table.

I made a point of thanking him for going to the trouble of doing what he was doing. Unfortunately, it turns out that his command of English was minimal, but I made sure, nonetheless, that he understood that I appreciated what he was doing.

This may seem like a small thing, an insignificant thing, and maybe it is, but I have always believed that it is in fact the little, seemingly unimportant or insignificant little gestures that staff provide to our guests that have the biggest impact.

You see, the caretaker could easily ignore the newspaper sitting out front, off to the side of the door, it’s not like he has to step over or around it to get in the door, and as a result, he feels that he is obliged to bring it inside.

And once inside, he could easily throw it in the corner, but no, he doesn’t.


I think it’s because of who he is, he takes pleasure, and pride I might add, in what he does, and he applies that to all of the facets of his life.

He simply can’t ignore that newspaper – that would probably be impossible for him.

That’s probably also why he looked at me like I was a crazy person when I went to such great lengths to let him know how much I appreciated him.

You know what they say; "take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves."

Regardless of whether you believe that or not, I think we can all agree that attention to detail always pays off. 

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  1. I like that about you! That you would go to great lengths to let him know you appreciated the gesture!

  2. Dale, You are so right about this. Some people are truly service oriented and they can no more ignore that paper..and the person who will ultimately receive it... than they could an older woman struggling with her car door. It's just who they are. I'm the same way. :o) I can't help it. :o) But I do often wonder how others can ignore someone's need, however small, especially if we can help in some way.

    I was always a very popular waitress in college for that very reason. I have five teenagers and most of them have never had trouble getting great jobs and promotions..because I taught them how important character is in a job. I knew that personal character is the best qualification.

    To me, service makes or breaks a good hotel. And in our present culture..there is a huge dearth of good service!

    Great post!

    Donna @ Comin' Home