Selling Your Executive Team on the Need for a Customer Service Strategy

By Marco Albarran Managing Director, Remarkable Hospitality, Inc. | November 30, 2014

Are you a manager or department head observing evident need for a customer service strategy but your owner(s) or headquarters not seeing this the way you are? Are you trying to convince them or bringing this up but they are not paying attention to this? Why is this so? What and how can we approach this situation to sell, justify and convince to them to invest in the appropriate service strategy? This article brainstorms brief concepts that should give some idea to assist in this situation, which I am certain many of you are going, or have gone through.

The overall basis of this particular write up is based on much frustration in which many managers must deal with and are perhaps against the wall, as this can be a very viable solution to increase the bottom line, yet they do not get the overall approval or backing from owners of headquarters. (Keep in mind when I use either owners or headquarters, this refers to whomever we report to, so there are many derivations of these two main decision makers that we can use, so feel free to plug in to whom you report to in your particular case.)

The Challenge

Why is it that we tend to see this challenge for the most part? Is it that they do not want to invest money into a service strategy and perhaps invest in other areas? Is it perhaps because owners are not knowledgeable on how this may impact their bottom line and they fear the unknown? Could it be that perhaps headquarters is too separated from the front lines and cannot connect the correlation between customer service strategized and improving the bottom line? All of these answers can certainly be factors and again, you will certainly be able to identify with any of these, or perhaps many more, scenarios.

It is not easy to convince executives teams or managers overall on this as we do have to justify what needs not be done in order to effectively bring forth the some sort of plan that will certainly make an impact to the bottom line. Your line staff and department heads are in the trenches gather enough intel/data to understand better the customer. They are putting into practice perhaps what is already set as a service approach or standard, however, is it outdated, meaning still using approaches that used to work prior to today's demand? Maybe we are taking too long to respond to needs and not connecting back with the guest's requests in a timely manner? Is it not working as it is perhaps too focused on what the hotel or restaurant wants the guest to tell them, versus what the guest truly needs from the establishment? Maybe the overall existing customer service approach is too broad and not strategic? I am sure there are many situations that are very focused on your property, so there needs to be an analysis to be made to see that is going on specifically.

Strategies and Solutions

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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.