Nervous Service

By Roberta Nedry President & Founder, Hospitality Excellence, Inc. | October 28, 2008

"Well, shake it up, baby, now, (shake it up, baby)

Twist and shout. (twist and shout)

Cmon, cmon, cmon, cmon, baby, now, (come on baby)

Come on and work it on out. (work it on out)..."

These wonderful lyrics from The Beatles remind me of summer but lately they've been reminding me of something else... Nervous Service! Call it shaky, call it uneasy, call it anxious, high-strung, sensitive or walking on pins and needles. These kinds of service experiences make the guest want to TWIST and SHOUT!!! What happens when employees are so focused on their duties, so concerned about management's expectations, so worried about letting co-workers down? Nervous service can bumble the job! Walking the line between expectations and service delivery can be challenging. How can employees better understand the seamless delivery of service and how they can have fun doing it without the jitters? Can hotels and hospitality organizations "work it on out"?

There are all kinds of nervousness as noted above. One type is excitability or rather "undue "excitability. When we dined in a new beach area restaurant, open only two weeks, we were quickly unexcited about our service experience. Our waitress was quite pleasant and seemed enthusiastic about her new role and environment. When we asked questions, she seemed quite eager to respond and assured us we would get the particulars of our order. We allowed our expectations to rise to match hers in serving us. When another server brought our order, it was all the wrong stuff. She was not there to oversee the delivery and we had a tough time flagging her down. She seemed a bit concerned but whisked the dishes away with nary an apology. Seems like the kitchen was too excited to pay attention to the orders and just sent out the food. She was too excited to pay attention to our order quality, delivery and satisfaction. And, then, to top it off, we reached for salt and pepper and the containers were empty. Seems the staff was too excited about setting the new tables and forgot to check if the shakers were filled. Lots of attention and excitement to opening a new restaurant. Little attention to the service and details that make a difference.

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