When a guest approaches to the receptionist, we need to take into account that:
– During the shift we are going to see many different people and situations
– Physical condition will be very influent on the way we face those situations
– Every person will react in a very different way to our verbal and body language
Knowing this will help us to have more self-confidence, and it will improve so much our efficiency when solving problems.
We could say that nothing of all that is related to the improvement of the quality of our customer service. All that need to be completed with training. Not only in a hotel, in very office, wherever we want to work, is necessary to accomplish the technical tools. A hotel is no different, procedures need to be explained, systems and standards need to be known.
Am I going to train new employees for them to make their job very fast? Am I going to train new employees so that they make only what we ask them to do? Or, on the contrary, am I going to train new employees so good that they always do their best? And am I going to show them just our department, or am I going to give a global vision of the company?
“How does it work?”, did the new employee ask. “You don’t need to do it, we don’t do that”
Then, a guest asked for “that”, and he could not help the guest because in that moment we has alone in reception.
In quality survey, guest wrote clearly: “employees not so professional, training inefficient”
I arrive to a reception for the very first time… and now what?
We have to consider very important the first time that an employee has contact with the guest. That will be the very first moment in which an unknown person will evaluate –probably without knowing it- the knowledge of the new employee, and it will be that this person has to proof the strength to face the difficulties of working in the first line.
In my opinion, training should not only look for teaching the technical tools that are required to make the job; it would be also great to teach people to be self-confidence enough to face that very first moment through which all of us have gone sometimes.
I have seen people trembling, catching the mouse and turning pale in front of a serious face; would it be helpful for these people to show our confidence in them, in case we know they have the necessary aptitudes to make a good job?
During my experience, I have learned two lessons:
First of all, we will feel like answering “I don’t know” many times. “I don’t know” is a forbidden answer. Ask whoever knows it, look for whoever can help you, search the answer by yourself, but never answer “I don’t know”.
And secondly, guest is always going to find a question about something we did not think whether it was useful to learn or not.
At 11 pm, at the end of his shift, the telephone rang and someone asked him from the other side of the line: “do you guys accept Koalas in your hotel?”
Training manager for a customer service needs to give the learners all the tools necessary to have a whole knowledge of the company, in order to make a better sale, and to manage difficulties better.
He should be able, for example, of teaching the new employees the way of saying “I don’t know” without saying “I don’t know”. Knowing who can ask in case of question.
We need to take into account that competence in a hotel is not only measured by the amount of things that staff can do, but also by the knowledge to look for the right person in the right moment.
Going back to the points explained better than me by Errol Allen, I think the secret to have a perfect customer service is not only to have the best people but also to train the best people in the best possible way.
That is the only way we can achieve to turn the individual effort into fast, reliable, credible, competent and courteous answers to guests, getting a customer service level in a long term that can be evaluated as consistent.
*Thanks to Mr Allen for let me sharing his quotes in this article*