Would You Like Your Service Today Live or Programmed, Madam?

Part Two - Explore the Vistas Opened up by the Robot Builders Amongst us.

By Steven Ferry Chairman, International Institute of Modern Butlers | December 06, 2015

This is Part II of a two-part article. Please click here for Part I.

Those in hospitality, who tend to be more aware and engaged than others, know that the human and emotional element cannot be replicated by software programs, and that the very definition of hospitality must include these elements-but only if we are to be servicing humans. If we are servicing guests who have lost their way as humans, or robots, then free-spirited and self-determined human service providers do indeed become not just redundant, but a liability.

Flawed Logic and Intelligence, Missing Emotional Engagement-The Scientist at Work

No amount of programmed facial expressions or even, perchance in the future, crocodile tears, or dancing dummies, will ever make up for the lack of…what is it? One could say sincerity, but the actual missing element is the one element that these gods of the aspiring religion of science, have neither awareness nor understanding: spirit!

The simple definition of man for millennia has been, "Body, mind, and spirit." But that is not how such scientists describe man, because the humanities went astray in 1879 when Marxist Professor, WilhelmWundt, of Leipzig University in Germany, declared that the mind was simply the brain (based on the observation that most nerves were in the brain and all nerve channels went to the brain). He taught that man was a stimulus-response animal and had neither spirit nor self-determinism. Psychology and then psychiatry based their entire works on these erroneous opinions, and so we have mind as brain, software as hardware. Suddenly everything mental is physical, which is why psychiatry has a pantheon of just three "therapies," all physical: lobotomy and its variations (making people into vegetables by severing the front of the brain); ECT (electric shock) and its variations; and drugging. None of these work (if by work we mean to correctly diagnose and alleviate a condition to the benefit/increased abilities of the patient) because the brain is not the mind. These cruel treatments fix things as effectively as smashing the headlights when the oil needs changing.

And then we come to the spiritual-psychiatrists and such scientists think they are bodies. They have persuaded many people to believe the same thing by onerous repetition from a self-proclaimed point of authority with unlimited funds to forward that message. So for them, there is no mind and spirit in man, it is all just "body."

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.