Insights from HospitalityEducators.com: What does your staff manual say about guest/customer service?

Interesting perspectives on Customer Service

Nordstrom’s Old Employee Handbook Had Only 75 Words


For many years, Nordstrom’s employee handbook consisted of a single 5″×8″ card that had only 75 words on it:

Welcome to Nordstrom

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1:

Use best judgment in all situations.

There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

Note

During this time, Nordstrom had the highest sales per square foot performance in the retail industry

by almost double.

_________________________________________________________________

Success in hotels and hospitality does not come by accident or chance.

We can help

John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com or 602-799-5375

HospitalityEducators.com was created to help hospitality businesses address problems via a training and information resource site to help you increase your Hotel’s revenue, market share and profitability.  With more than 1,000 pages of tips, guides, best practices, strategies, plans, budgets, videos and resources, HospitalityEducators.com is the #1 independent website for hotel owners and managers.  This site can help you solve your problems now!      Read More  

KEYS TO SUCCESS  is the umbrella title for my 2012 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™ , THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™  and Principles for Success.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com   anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense,


 

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is CEO and Co-Founder of www.HospitalityEducators.com , which delivers focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.
www.HospitalityEducators.com  is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations.

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A Smile from HospitalityEducators.com – April 14 International Moment of Laughter Day

International Moment of Laughter Day

When : Always April 14th

International Moment of Laughter Day is a special day that will put a big smile on your face. The objective of this day is to get people to laugh, and to laugh more often. After all, “laughter is the best medicine”.

Moment of Laughter Day is also known as National Moment of Laughter Day, and plain old Moment of Laughter Day. We don’t care whether you celebrate today as a local, national, or international day. What’s important is that you bring about laughter (and happiness) to those you come in contact with today.

To celebrate this special day, simply tell jokes or do funny things that cause people to laugh. A smile is not a good enough reaction. Successful participation in this day results in whole-hearted laughter.


Origin of “Moment of Laughter Day”:

Humorologist Izzy Gesell created Moment of Laughter Day to encourage people to laugh.

We found varying dates for this celebration, all in the month of April. But among them, April 14th is the day designated by the creator as International Moment of Laughter Day.

The world of hospitality is supposed to be one of making people feel welcome, to enjoy themselves and to often celebrate life.  We encourage you to take some time on April 14 or anytime with regularity and take that Moment to Enjoy each other, our guests and all we come in contact with!

John Hogan and Kathleen Hogan, co-founders of HospitalityEducators.com @ a recent Phoenix AZ radio talk show interview (with BOTTOM LINE Show sponsor, Mitch Speen)

John Hogan and Kathleen Hogan , (with sponsor Mitch Speen at a recent radio interview show)

Co-Founders of HospitalityEducators.com,

a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help managers and operators of hotels, restaurants and hospitality businesses improved their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them to  Kathleen@HospitalityEducators.com. Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.

One of the most comprehensive and meaningful service codes ever introduced in hospitality

This  series on the “high-touch” side of hospitality has prompted positive reader feedback and ideas from hoteliers and managers who have participated in some of my workshops idea

·         Segment 1 underscored the need for hospitality businesses to deliver unique experience to avoid being viewed as a commodity.

·         Segment 2 focused on identifying ways to encourage hotel staffs to think about the “guest experience” , whether you are an independent hotel or brand affiliated  It offered concrete examples ways to avoid being seen as ordinary or a “commodity” in the critical guest service of SLEEP

·         Segment 3 examined the essential topic of significant value to hotel guests everywhere: BREAKFAST.

·         Segment 4 generated the most reader feedback, with general agreement that calming “an angry customer” gives hotels the chance to win loyalty be demonstrating sincere concern.

No one is proposing that we want to annoy guests, but  there is agreement that a “satisfied” guest is probably not thinking a hotel is very special and that  an “adequate” stay does not likely build loyalty or repeat visits.  Hotels of today must anticipate problem areas and respond immediately when one arises.  This means that hotel owners and managers must allow and insist that their staffs do whatever it takes to meet the customers’ needs and a  number of individual properties, brands and chains have worked to refine their staff responsiveness to these guest annoyances.

In the last column, I promised I would share one of the most comprehensive and meaningful service codes ever introduced. An unusual and perhaps unexpected fact about this service code is that it premiered almost a century ago by one of the most successful hoteliers of all time.

Elsworth Statler has been described and considered one of the most innovative and creative of hoteliers of all time.  He is credited with many of the practices and construction methods that became industry standards.

It was in Buffalo in 1908 that Elsworth Statler, (born into poverty in a West Virginia mining center during the American Civil War), began paying real attention to details that would become trademarks of his genius.  In a 300-room hotel, he was the first to provide a bathroom in each room, which had been unheard of that time.  Rather than force guests that were strangers to share common baths down the hall, he modified the construction practice to build rooms “back-to-back”.   This practice was then able to use common electrical conduit and plumbing shafts (later known as the Statler plumbing shaft), making the bathroom a basic part of every Statler hotel and within a decade in many of the hotels in the industry.

The Buffalo Statler introduced other innovations that evolved into standards at many hotels, including circulating ice water in every room, which was important in the pre-air conditioning heat in many cities,  telephones in every room, a full size closet in every room, lights in every closet and a hook by the mirror in each bathroom that encouraged guests to reuse their towel, thereby saving laundry costs.

Statler understood success was a combination of operations and marketing.  He was perceptive in paying attention to building revenues and anticipated the expansion of conventions and meetings business.  Guest rooms were not decorated in a “cookie cutter” style, but were with the proper balance of colors and design so that bedspreads, draperies and rugs could be interchanged from room to room if need be.

In addition to the physical amenities he stressed and introduced, he recognized that guests had to feel appreciated.   To emphasize his commitment, Statler introduced what he called the STATLER SERVICE CODE.

Statler Service Code

  • It is the business of a good hotel to cater to the public. It is the avowed business of the Hotel Statler to please the public better than any other hotel in the world.
  • Have everyone feel that for his money we want to give him more sincere service than he ever before received at any hotel.
  • Never be perky, pungent or fresh. The guest pays your salary as well as mine. He is your immediate benefactor.
  • Hotel service, that is, Hotel Statler service, means the limit of courteous, efficient attention from each particular employee to each particular guest. It is the object of the Hotel Statler to sell its guest the best service in the world.
  • No employee of this hotel is allowed the privilege of arguing any point with a guest. He must adjust the matter at once to the guest’s satisfaction or call his superior to adjust it. Wrangling has no place in Hotel Statler.
  • In all minor discussions between Statler employees and guests the employee is dead wrong, from the guest’s point of view and from ours.
  • Any Statler employee who is wise and discrete enough to merit tips is wise and discrete enough to render like service whether he is tipped or not.
  • Any Statler employee who fails to give service or who fails to thank the guest who gives him something falls short of Statler standards.

I updated this Service Code and have used it successfully in training programs and operations.  If readers would like a copy of this version in PowerPoint, please send a request for it to john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com . I can also share with you an amusing  example of teamwork in delivering memorable and personalized customer service in a commercial from SN Brussels Airlines  in you tube format .  http://www.hospitalityeducators.com/articles/20100708

“Life is service. The one who progresses is the one who gives his fellow human being a little more, a little better service.” Elsworth Statler

Feedback or ideas for future pieces are welcome -contact me at info@HoganHospitality.com

Blog of Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS 8.11.2010             www.HospitalityEducators.com

www.HoganHospitality.com

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com) of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry. www.HospitalityEducators.com is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas that are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.   Special introductory pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.  If readers would like to contribute to the site, please submit your material for consideration to Kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com.  We are interested in expanding our global networks and resources as we support our membership.

Share Best Practices on Engaging the “high-touch” side of our business #2

The full title of the previous blog reinforced the emphasis of the series : Engaging the “high-touch” side of our business by instilling passion in our people and I appreciate reader response and feedback.   Segment 1 introduced an understanding of a genuine need for the hospitality industry to provide a unique experience or face the potential consequences of our hotel, restaurant, retail service or attraction being viewed as very ordinary or in other words, a commodity.

This second segment of the series further defines the experience of today, whether you are an independent hotel or brand affiliated.  In segment one, I shared some insights from Tennessee hotelier Johnny Walker of Nashville. He has been actively engaged in the hospitality industry for more than 35 years and is one of the region’s most experienced tour operators.  As a hotel owner/operator with multiple brands, he offered a number of ideas he felt were important for hotel managers today, including the message that “every room rental/stay must be viewed as an experience”

In a number of interactive workshops over the past two years, I have focused on identifying ways to  encourage hotel general managers and their staffs to think about the “guest experience” and how we might build that commitment of “high touch” into the mindset of every employee for every guest.

Recognizing the danger of becoming a “Commodity”, and seeking specific ways to avoid becoming ordinary, I focused on three areas in these workshops and am pleased to share some best practices from managers and owners of both branded and independent properties.

The first topic discussed is one that every guest experiences, regardless of hotel location,  room rate or level of service:  SLEEPING

These workshops were held across North America and participants had wonderful ideas and best practices of how to make the “sleeping” experience positive, memorable and unique.  The best ideas I heard included addressing all five of the human senses

  1. Sight – the guest room and the bed must be inviting.  This means neatly prepared beds, using pillows as décor and a sense of freshness to the eye as one enters the room.
  2. Smell – the fragrance discussion in hospitality is not new.  We all likely have fond memories of entering a bakery or a certain restaurant, yet too many hotels do not address this sensation.  Care must be taken in cleaning products used, and there are packaged scents available that can be subtly present in the guest room, which enhances the overnight experience of sleep.
  3. Sound – Rooms must be reasonably constructed or designed to block out street noise or external sound, as well as addressing the sounds of ice machines and elevators.  Suggestions by attendees included ways to identify and then deal with those noises.  A number of properties today include a CD player (with brand or hotel provided CDs)  and/or a higher quality radio that offers additional calming effects conducive for sleeping
  4. Taste – the general manager’s reception, fresh popcorn in the lobby, homemade cookies or other treats can be positive interactions for guests as they retire to their rooms. These can reinforce situations they have at home, and therefore find positive when traveling.
  5. Touch – as in #1 Sight above, the guest room and bedding must be inviting.  Well maintained, comfortable bed coverings with quality linens complete the five senses for a guest who is on the road every week or for those who travel only on vacations.

Participants who shared these observations also commented that the entire housekeeping and front office teams must be part of understanding that delivery of a good’s night’s sleep means each member of the staff contributing their own personal touches, smiles and appreciation of the individual guest staying at their hotel.

The next two segments of this blog will share best practices on breakfast and staff responsiveness to a guest’s concern or complaint.

Feedback or ideas for future pieces are welcome -contact me info@HoganHospitality.com

Blog of Dr. John Hogan CHE CHA MHS  7.29.10         HospitalityEducators.com, HoganHospitality.com

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is Co-Founder of a consortium (www.HospitalityEducators.com ) of successful corporate and academic mentors delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing the hospitality industry.   Services are designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

“The Stranger within our gates”

Hotel Common Sense
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“The Stranger within our gates”

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by John Hogan    from an earlier article
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Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet.

Attributed to Balthazar, in The Comedy of Errors,
act 3, sc. 1, l. 26.

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When one travels a great deal on business, the danger is there to overlook the small, personal touches that are often present in many hotels. Regardless of the room rate, the size of the hotel or its location, many hotels around the world provide many personalized welcoming messages.  At a time when we in the industry are concerned about the danger of our hotels becoming a commodity that is only rated or selected by price, those personal touches become even more vital to keeping our individual distinctions.

The following message was placed on a pillow on a recent trip. This laminated message really made its’ point and I hope you enjoy the message.

To Our Guests“The Stranger within our gates”

Because this hotel is a human institution to serve people, and not solely a for profit organization. We strive to ensure you will experience peace and rest while you are here.

May this room and this hotel be your “second” home. May those you love be near you in thoughts and dreams. Even though we may not get to know you, we hope that you will be conformable and happy as if you were In your own house.

May the business that brought you our way prosper. May every call you make and every message you receive add to your joy. When you leave, may your journey be safe.

We are all travelers. From “birth till death” we travel between the eternities. May these days be pleasant for you, profitable for society, helpful for those you meet, and a joy to those who know and love you best.


Think Tank

Questions of the day

These questions are offered to stimulate discussion about the way we do business.  There is not necessarily only one “correct” answer – the reason for this section of the column is to promote an awareness of how we might all improve our operations.  Consider using these or similar questions at staff meetings encourage your team to THINK!

Topic

  1. What would your guests think of this kind of message expressed at your hotel?
  2. What do you do at your hotel to make each guest feel welcome?
  3. Are there any additional suggestions you could share at your hotel or with readers of this column on how to reduce the potential of our hotels becoming commodities?