Recipe for a Sustainable Service Culture: The Essential Ingredients

By Nigel Lobo Vice President of Resort Operations, Grand Pacific Resorts | May 28, 2010

To make a service culture a reality everyone needs to be on board. This includes the top level executives all the way down through all of the line level associates. Not only does everyone need to buy into the concept and implementation but also play a part in the development of the concept and processes. For, in fact, we with a passion for a service culture know that the process begins with the heart of our operation, the staff members who interact with our guests on an ongoing basis.

In order for a culture of Service Excellence to grow and thrive, the resort operations team must have a burning desire for it to be that way, and the energy to ensure that this desire spreads throughout the resort and kept alive.

Memorable Vacations are Created by Going Above and Beyond.

Our “Building Service Culture” process was rolled out in the last quarter of 2008. The development of the program was across all 14 of the resorts managed by Grand Pacific Resort Management. The course of action focused on specific Associate and Guest satisfaction strategies.

Associate Satisfaction strategies centered on providing associates with feedback and recognition, as well as getting them totally involved in the key elements, such as the development of their own resort credo and goals.

For instance, one resort team came up with “Building Friendships through Genuine Hospitality” as their motto. Another went for “All Hands on Deck”. This exercise got the ball rolling with everyone from housekeeping to the front desk providing their input and voting on the final outcome.

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Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.