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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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.