Archive for March, 2015

A Service Attitude

Monday, March 30th, 2015

While each person brings his or her own attitudes to the workplace, your company expects employees to be indoctrinated into a culture of absolute dedication to quality and the needs of the customer.

Your emphasis as a leader and all the training focus for your employees is on learning how to say YES to customers.  If this attitude is kept foremost in mind, it will help you and your employees handle any unusual requests or difficult situations involving customers.  This indoctrination is the ongoing responsibility of leaders at every level and can best be accomplished by your wholehearted support, daily reinforcement, and personal example.

Equally important, this attitude should characterize your work relationships with fellow employees – your internal customers.  Everyone who works for your company is a member of a team trying to accomplish the same mission.  Cheerful and complete cooperation with one another makes work easier, more meaningful, and fun.  Your first thought when approached by a customer, external or internal, should be “How can I help this person; how can I be of service?”

Attitude is the major determinant of success in any endeavor.  Your thoughts color everything you do.  Each person has a filter through which all sense perceptions pass.  Since the conscious mind can only process so much information, perceptions are screened and only those supporting your thought system, biases, and views are accepted.  All others are rejected.  Stated another way – since your brain interprets sensory information to support what you already believe – YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK!

If you believe yourself to be misunderstood or mistreated, you will seek every piece of evidence to support this belief.  If you are optimistic and happy, you will select every perception that supports that happiness and optimism.  The process is self-reinforcing and reciprocal.  If your thoughts tend to the negative, you will see only the negative.  If a person is a liar, he or she will assume that everyone lies and will go through life never trusting anyone.

The implication is that you create the world you want through your thoughts.  People who are upbeat and look for the good in everything know that, while they cannot control events, THEY CAN CONTROL THEIR REACTIONS TO THOSE EVENTS!  Simply put, you can make whatever you want of any situation.

Attitudes are clearly infectious and you owe it to others to be as positive and cheerful as possible.  One defeatist, grumbling, negative attitude can ruin the day for many others.  The sad thing is that you allow the negative person to do this.  When one considers the uproar in society over the danger to people’s health from passive smoking, it is surprising that they aren’t just as adamant about the threat to health from passive bad attitude.

So don’t tolerate your employees’ bad moods.  Confront them; shock them back into an acceptable frame of mind.  Tell them to go home if they can’t be in a better mood.  The requirement must be:

“Be of Good Cheer or Don’t Be Here!”

As a leader you are responsible for building morale within your team.  Protect your employees from people with negative attitudes and sour moods.  Don’t permit one employee to drag down an entire operation.  Confront, counsel, and, if necessary, discharge the employee.

Excerpted from Leadership on the Line:  A Guide for Front Line Supervisors, Business Owners and Emerging Leaders

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Quality and Service

Monday, March 16th, 2015

I have yet to come across a hotel, resort, restaurant, club, golf course, or management company that doesn’t claim to offer its customers/members/guests extraordinary, legendary, remarkable, superb, world-class (you pick the one) levels of service; yet how many of these organizations have taken the time or made the effort to define their quality and service standards?

Let us take a moment to define what we mean by service and quality.  According to Dictionary.com:

  • Service is “the act of helpful activity.”  In hospitality operations it is the process or performance of some task or event for your customers/guests/members.
  • Quality is “a characteristic or property that signifies relative merit or excellence.”  In our industry the word is used to express the relative merits or excellence of the facilities, amenities, activities, and service we provide our customers.

Given that a hospitality operation’s quality is defined by the relative merits of those things and the service provided to customers, let us pose some questions regarding the service to which you aspire or claim to offer:

  • Have you or your organization defined what service is for your service-delivery employees?
  • Have you explained or trained your employees what you and your customers’ expectations for service are?
  • Do you know what your customers expect when it comes to service?  If so, how do you know?  What methodology is used to determine customers’ needs and expectations?
  • Have you identified your key service touch points or moments of truth for your employees?
  • Have you taught or demonstrated for your employees how to handle various touch points in all their possible variations and contingencies?
  • Have you documented touch points and service standards, policies, and procedures to ensure that they are taught consistently to each new employee and new generations of employees?
  • Do you have a means of measuring compliance with service standards, policies, and procedures?
  • Do you have a process to address service failures?
  • Do you have a process to make service failures right for your customers?
  • Do you have a process to discover underlying causes of service failures to ensure they don’t happen again?
  • Do you have a consistent process to educate employees about changes to standards, policies, and procedures to eliminate service failures?
  • Do you have a means of monitoring service failures to identify trends or spot problems?
  • Do your employees know that they can self-report their service failures without fear or repercussions?

If you’ve answered “no” to the majority of the questions above, you do not provide quality service.  What you do provide is a series of interactions between customers and employees that may or may not meet the expectations of customers or management.  The quality you provide is based purely on chance and, therefore, has an unacceptably high risk of service failures.

If the above describes your operation’s quality and service, there is much to work on to meet the promises you’ve made to customers/guests/members.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

The Foundation for Remarkable Service

Monday, March 9th, 2015

It all starts with leadership.  Strong and stable leadership is the single most important requirement to successful hospitality operations.  While there are many styles of leadership suited to any industry or endeavor, experience over many years in hotels, resorts, and private clubs makes it clear that a service-based approach to leadership works best in the service industry.

Service-Based Leadership differs from other leadership styles in its focus on serving the needs of employees to provide them with the proper tools, training, resources, motivation, and empowerment to serve customers.  The importance of this support can be inferred by the question:

“How can employees provide quality service if they are not properly served by the leadership, example, and ongoing support of their managers?”

Being a serviced-based leader requires many different skills, but two are so critical to providing quality service that they bear special mention.  First is the will to make it happen.  Building a Remarkable Service Infrastructure is not a one-time event or a single set of instructions to employees.  It is a challenging and ongoing endeavor that may take years to fully implement.  Building a Remarkable Service Infrastructure entails changing people’s attitudes and behaviors.

Even in a start-up operation where there is no tradition or ingrained institutional habits to overcome, newly hired managers and employees bring their own service experiences with them.  Given the relatively poor and inconsistent state of service throughout the industry, most often they simply bring habits practiced in previous jobs.  This multitude of experiences and habits must be transformed into a unified system that supports the discipline of quality.

The second necessary skill is communication.  There is a tremendous amount of detail involved in hospitality operations.  An open flow of information all around makes it easier to communicate expectations, give daily direction, uncover issues and problems, and ensure that all employees are on the same page.  Communication bottlenecks, usually caused by uncommunicative and aloof managers, impede efficient operations and make it harder for everyone to do their jobs.

To build the infrastructure, the leader must communicate service values at every opportunity and continually reinforce the culture of service.  The leader must be both patient and persistent. Instructions and reinforcement will have to be given over and over again.  Training and implementation must be repeated at intervals until every employee gets the message and provides consistent quality service in every situation.

While it is recognized that the General Manager must be a strong leader, it is also critical that the operation’s subordinate managers and supervisors are also trained to be strong service-based leaders.  While some of a leader’s skill-set seems to be inborn, such as confidence and an analytical mind, and others are developed early in life, like judgment and basic communication abilities, the great majority of a leader’s skills are learned.  But unless junior managers are systematically trained to develop the skills which have to do with building and sustaining meaningful work relationships, their leadership development will be haphazard, and the vision and message of service will not be communicated consistently or faithfully to line employees.

Upon this leadership foundation, then, are the components of the Remarkable Service Infrastructure – those organizational systems and disciplines which comprise the building blocks that lead to Remarkable Service.

Excerpted from The Quest for Remarkable Service

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Providing Guidelines for Empowered Behavior

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Hospitality operations need to ensure that leaders provide guidelines and information for empowered behaviorHaving developed the necessary environment for empowerment by valuing and trusting employees, while communicating values and goals to them, the leader’s next step is to establish the framework for empowered action.

With the understanding that most hospitality employees have never experienced working in an empowered organization, the leader must plant the seeds of empowerment by suggesting ways in which employees can act in empowered ways.

1.   Develop a list of most frequent customer complaints or issues.  By enlisting your employees’ help in identifying problem areas or issues, you send a strong message to them that you value their opinions and input.  This is the first step in helping them realize that they can be empowered to solve the problems.

2.   Brainstorm empowerment opportunities.  Once your team has identified problem areas, brainstorm with them how these problems might be properly resolved.  In the give and take discussion while brainstorming, your team will gain deeper insights of how and why problems should be resolved in particular ways and what might be the best resolution of a particular issue.

3.   Establish standards or limits of empowerment.  As the leader, you should guide the discussion to the appropriate solutions.  Ultimately, while employees may make decisions and take empowered action, it is up to you to ensure that they take the appropriate action and understand the guidelines of their authority.  In other words, you’re responsible for establishing the standards and limits of their empowerment.

4.   Challenge your team to work on one or two of the identified problem areas.  Select the most pressing of the identified problem areas or those that represent easy-to-fix issues; then challenge your team to make decisions on their own and take action to resolve them.  Make sure they understand that they will not be punished for doing the wrong thing and that any errors will only be used as learning opportunities for everyone involved.

5.   Set up a schedule of ongoing meetings.  Meetings every week or so are opportunities to review how the team is doing, what problems they’ve encountered, how they might resolve such problems, and to encourage the team toward further empowerment.

Excepted from The Power of Employee Empowerment

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers – those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!