A Sense of Purpose: The Key to inspiring Superior Customer Service Quality

By Steve Curtin Founder, Steve Curtin LLC | April 01, 2018

After a 20-year career in the hotel industry, I've made some observations. Specifically, I've noticed that hotel reservations are routinely in order, linens are consistently changed, and meals are typically prepared to order, yet front desk agents don't always smile, housekeepers don't always pay attention to detail, and servers don't always display a sense of urgency. And for years I pondered the question: Why does customer service quality seem to hinge on the employee you happen to get, whether over the phone, online, or face-to-face?

In the following story, you will meet a hotel general manger named Brett who is grappling with some of the same questions. You will also meet his airplane seatmate, Evan, who provides fresh insights to inspire superior customer service quality by examining the totality of every employee's job role and connecting their day-to-day job duties to organizational purpose.

The leadership conference had ended an hour earlier and Brett Sharp, newly-promoted hotel general manager, and his regional director, Meg Daniels, were the final two attendees remaining in the cavernous meeting room as event staff worked around them to clear the tables and reset the room for the next function.

Meg was well respected for her ability to interpret potential causes of fluctuations in results, whether operations reports, P&L statements, or guest satisfaction scores. Having received the guest satisfaction scores for Brett's property during the conference, Meg seized the opportunity to discuss a recurring pattern she had detected: Although the incidents of hotel guests reporting a problem during their stay were down, so was guest satisfaction. In her experience, there was generally a correlation between a problem-free hotel stay and a satisfied hotel guest.

"Brett," asked Meg, "have you been able to spend much time with this period's guest satisfaction scores?"

"Oh, yes. Did you happen to notice all of us staking out our territory during lunch to pour over our numbers?"

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.