Driving Staff Reviews, Training, and Retention Through Customer Feedback

By Richard D. Hanks Chairman and President, Mindshare Technologies | April 15, 2010

When was the last time you had to do a negative performance review with one of your employees? I mean the kind where you are the bearer of bad news and have to lay down the law in a forceful manner?

This type of performance review can be one of the most painful and yet delicate interactions that a manager can have with an employee. In this article, I address a simple, yet effective way to offset two of the more difficult issues related to this type of employee review. They are - (1) the subjective nature of the manager's "evidence" for change, and (2) the "selective memory" of most employees when presented with performance weaknesses.

Summary

The bottom-line summary is this: Let your customers provide real-time feedback, specific to each service employee, as close to the service experience as possible. In this way, you'll be presenting the literal voice of the customer to the employee, and the suggestions for improvement will be direct, applicable, and devoid of the inherent bias that is present in all employee-supervisor relationships. Specific training needs will be highlighted and employee retention will go up.

"My Subjective Boss"

I wish I had a nickel for every time I listened to an employee appeal their performance review with these words, "This isn't a fair review, because my boss doesn't like me." This accusation is usually followed with examples of the boss giving more positive performance evaluations to others in the department because, "The boss likes them better." It seems to be an almost unavoidable part of human nature to throw up a defensive posture when confronted by our weaknesses. Another often-used defense is to blame the human bias of those who are asked to subjectively judge us. "She's not fair. She doesn't like my politics. We were peers, and then he got promoted to be my boss. He's holding a grudge, etc."

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.