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How to… Deliver better service

10 January 2014
How to… Deliver better service

Staff at all levels need to know what guests look for in inspiring service

All too often hospitality companies and brands underestimate the importance of delivering inspirational service.

You may well have an award-winning cellar or the most unusual oils in your spa, but that's not what will give you repeat business. Guests and customers will return because of the way you made them feel, and that is ultimately about the service you provide.

Forgiveness will be granted for a tepid tenderloin or a corked Chenin if the situation is dealt with good grace, knowledge and a smile. But how can your customers be inspired if your team members aren't? Investment is crucial, and not just in financial terms, but also in managers and leaders recognising the importance of training and supporting their teams.

Managers, of course, need to give their team members the time to participate in training, but it is what happens outside the training room that can really shift the service levels up a notch. Inspirational leaders support their team members by showing them how to apply what they have learnt to real situations. Watching the theory come to life is especially inspiring, and this in turn can motivate the team to provide inspirational service long after the training has finished.

Your competition will no doubt invest in external trainers or perhaps use a HR team to induct new starters into guest service delivery, but why not look to your existing operational team to inspire and coach new staff? These team members will be able to talk about situations based on actual experience and inspire staff in a safe, interactive, inspiring and reassuring environment.

All team members need to fully understand their individual role in the guest journey. From a housekeeper passing a guest in the hallway to an engineer greeting a guest while working on a repair, everyone is involved. And it's not just front of house that matters, it's also central functions, including marketing and sales. Inspiring guests by capitalising on all team members' individuality and passion is crucial.

Developing an effective service experience establishes brand consistency and a desirable, worry-free and exceptional experience for all guests.

Claire Whitehouse is the learning and development manager EMEA for PPHE Hotel Group

THREE TIPS FOR DELIVERING INSPIRATIONAL SERVICE

1 Make the guest feel welcome This may seem obvious, but it's about connecting with the guest at every stage of their journey. Guests may forget what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Creating more than just a transaction by introducing genuine emotion will ensure the best welcome possible. The guest journey is king, so train your team to understand all the stages the guest will experience.

Even before arrival, your team has the opportunity to connect by picking up the phone or by email. Whether they are setting up a spa visit or making a restaurant booking before they arrive, the team member should introduce genuine emotion into the conversation.

2 Leave them feeling pleasantly surprised

Train your teams to use their eyes and ears to listen out for nuggets of information. If the guest is here for an anniversary or birthday celebration, for example, the team member can arrange a complimentary glass of Champagne or cake.

Be proactive - listen out for potential issues and address them before they escalate to guest relations or even TripAdvisor.
Train your team in product knowledge, above and beyond their direct job role - surprise the guest by recommending something they would love by knowing your product, whether it is a fantastic wine pairing or where to get the best value theatre tickets in the city.

3 Ensure they feel our passion
Working in a hospitality environment shows you care for others and want to deliver a great experience, but team members need to be trained to put all their hearts into the business.
Like laughter, enthusiasm is infectious, so show you care about what you do by not only serving guests with passion, but doing it in such a genuine way that you make them feel passionate about your brand, too. Train your team to wear their passion on their sleeve and it will rub off on your guests.

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