Developing Case Studies of Employee/Guest Encounters

By Marco Albarran Managing Director, Remarkable Hospitality, Inc. | January 18, 2015

Do you ever wonder "how can we find ways that we can train and educate our employees using a continuous approach, which can also be different each time, and challenge our employees to think critically, as well as develop them into caring and solution orientated employees, especially when it comes to resolving issues with guests?" This article will explore the power of how simple, documented case studies, can be used in order to engage employees in such a manner that they will be able to be on their feet, caring, attentive and driven to resolve guest issues.

When working in the front lines of a hospitality establishment, we always encounter many different guest interactions and situations, and even though fundamentally, the nature of them may be similar, they possess details which make each situation unique. It is much so that we even say that we as an entry-level employee, we need to acquire a lot of experience throughout a certain (sometimes long) period of time. I often hear this frustration amounts entry-level employees, they get frustrated due to this and often change jobs or careers, making it difficult for employers to hold on to their talent. Employees need to be challenged, naturally, but they need to not only get this sort of challenge via work experience. They need to get a sense of the educational perception of what their role entails (and how it impacts the bottom line). By developing an opportunity in your establishment/brand/company to educate employees on how to improve in their role, especially as a hospitality professional, and increase their chances to grow with the company, we will see more interest in the field, fewer turnovers and less cost in acquiring employees.

Logically, each establishment has a lot of different factors affecting the day-today business, so we are consistently preoccupied with time (both of business, management and employees), labor cost, productivity; however, we also expect that the cookie-cutter training programs we have in place, will motivate employees and gave them that sense of understanding and challenge they need as I indicated initially above. That said how do we then develop a continuous educational training, initially, that we can add to arsenal of standard training we already have in place?

We suggest developing case studies of all situations (moments of truth) that we can capture, no matter how insignificant (as for guests, the small things at times may be a huge deal for their expectations of the experience they are going through) or significant they may be. I say this as I know this is not easy to do, especially in the back of the house departments, again, due to time, etc. However, since technology has helped us minimize paperwork overall, and helps us focus more on ultimately creating a continuous great guest/customer service experience, we have an opportunity of developing this extra step that is going to be the responsibility of all department heads, as well as some of the front of the house employees (including sales and reservations), in their day to day list of things to do. Think of this as a documented situation that can be generated in each significant situation, and entered into an existing database system, preferably under the guest's general information area, initially. We shall discuss other documenting alternatives below.

Initial Ways to Document Case Studies

The database systems that we have in our POS or PMS systems can certainly be advantageous in this process. We would figure that the front desk and reservations area would be most common to using the database for the most part, as well as the sales department, given the nature of the high volume interaction with guests. This is a very strong opportunity as the majority of situations can be captured and documented by front line employees and also by managers. Other department heads are also trained on using these, so they can also enter these systems and create these documentations.

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