As a manager, it is easy to become wrapped up in profit and loss statements and to loosen one’s grip on the service side of the business. Keep in mind, your competitors also serve good food, provide a comfortable bed and offer a quality product, etc. The key difference is service.
These five tips will help you leave a lasting impression on your staff and ultimately, your customers:
Come out from behind your desk. Once a week, at a minimum, strategically post yourself in a high traffic area during peak business hours and warmly greet every customer you encounter. For residential high rises, position yourself in the lobby as your residents are leaving for work in the morning or near the mail room at the end of the workday. Not only will it show your staff that you put a high value on the customer relationship, you’ll quickly build a personal rapport with those you serve. Plus, it is a great excuse to stretch your legs!
Wear many hats. In order to fully appreciate the challenges of front line employees and the potential service limitations that may exist, managers should be familiar with the intricacies of every job function on their staff, down to the smallest detail. Do you know the phone or cashier system? What about the reservation software? Where are the housekeeping supplies kept? Valet procedures? Preferred vendor list? This will also allow you to calmly fill-in if a staffing emergency arises.
Contain your stress. Suppressing any built-up frustration and checking a bad attitude at the door is a requirement before interacting with your staff, whether or not they were the cause of the frustration. If you treat employees with the same respect and attention that you would give to your customers, then your staff will follow suit. Although it can be difficult, the interactions that happen in back-of-house areas are no different than those that happen “on stage” with your biggest VIPs.
Work the occasional holiday. We all know how difficult it can be to find and retain part-time help and many of these employees work odd shifts that fall overnight and/or on the weekends, when you aren't normally present. Make it a point to change-up your schedule when you can or call-in to say hello and provide support from afar. On a holiday, when you would normally be off, surprise your staff with a special visit to provide an in-person thank you. This management gesture shows solidarity and that you’re all one big team.
Defend your staff. Complaints are inevitable, but when they happen, always give your employees the benefit of the doubt until you've proven otherwise. Strive to turn all customer complaints into a service recovery exercise. By exhibiting trust in your staff, you ultimately empower them to make hard decisions without you, which makes for a better customer environment.
I look forward to seeing you there!