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News for the Hospitality Executive

January 8, 2009
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World-Class Service: What if every employee
served like a concierge?

March 2009

Employees often feel constrained by their job titles. Doormen should mainly open doors, massage therapists should mainly give massage treatments, and room attendants should mainly clean rooms. This type of constraint can inhibit the potential creativity and zeal that employees experience in their jobs.  I’ve held close to 20 different roles in the hospitality industry, ranging from busboy to corporate training director, but only one role truly allowed me to “break free”. In the role, my job description was to move heaven and earth to delight every guest all the time. That role was as a concierge. I loved that job.  Being a concierge was purely about anticipating, organizing, and delivering exceptional service.  Even after I moved on to other roles, including my current one as a service consultant, I approach every customer with the same concierge mindset…”I will do whatever it takes to provide the best service you have ever received”.

On a recent trip to Spain, I stayed at the Hotel Puente Romano in Marbella.  My interactions with the lobby concierge were exceptionally positive, and I began to wonder, what would happen if every employee in a business developed that same concierge mindset. What if every employee served like a concierge and did not allow their service delivery to be constrained by their job title? If this becomes the case in your business, then here is what each employee, including yourself, needs to do consistently:

  • Never say “no”. Always give options and alternatives.
  • Going above and beyond will be the minimum standard of performance for all customers. 
  • Feel empowered to create exceptional memories. This assumes that your leader trusts you enough to empower you, coach (not chastise) your efforts and give encouragement regularly.
  • Coordinate and work with other departments to surprise and delight customers. It is difficult to go above and beyond by yourself.
  • Always follow through on customer requests.
Special Note: If you are a senior leader, please ensure that every employee knows that their primary job is to serve customers. Each employee should know this from the very beginning during the recruitment and interview processes. Even if you are managing a grocery store, your employees who stock shelves should know that their primary role is to help the customer find everything they want and their secondary role is to stock shelves. That message MUST be communicated to all employees at all levels.

When I was a restaurant server, I enjoyed talking with my guests and learning about their preferences.  One night I was listening to a vacationing couple tell me about their favorite types of foods. They happened to love fresh mangos. They also wanted to visit a few good local restaurants before their vacation ended. I immediately checked with the hotel kitchen staff to see if there were any fresh mangos in stock, and unfortunately they were all out. Before returning to work the next day, I empowered myself to stop at a local grocery store to pick up a few fresh mangos for the guests. When I got to work, I coordinated with the chef and a room service employee to make a special tray of freshly cut mangos for the guests. This tray was sent to the room via room service, along with a hand-written note from me.  The note also contained a list of very good local restaurants. I then followed up with the concierge team, who sent a copy of the local restaurants’ menus to the guest’s room.  The following day I contacted the guest to find out about their restaurant experience and to see if there was anything else I could to make their stay a memorable one. I was not constrained by my job title.  I was fortunate to work in an establishment where the senior leaders expected, encouraged, and rewarded such behavior.

This year, make it a point to encourage yourself and your team to break free. You are more than a job title, you are a service professional. It does not matter what industry you are in; as long as you have customers, you are in the service business. World-class concierges take great pride in orchestrating memorable service experiences for their guests. With a concierge mindset, every employee on your team will surely excel at engaging their customers everyday.

Written by: Bryan K. Williams

Click here to watch a brief clip of Bryan
describing customer engagement.

Recent testimonials…

"I have attended many seminars on service and training, but I have never witnessed such a refreshing, clear, and mind-opening presentation as the one Bryan Williams gave us. My colleagues were all inspired and are still talking about it!"
                      Isabel Morero
                      Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa (Marbella, Spain)

"Motivating. Inspiring. Entertaining.  Bryan's presentation cast new light upon the complex hotel/guest relationship. It gave participating hoteliers a different perspective (the guest's) and a few precious tips on how to enhance our service skills. These service skills will help us make each of our guests feel special any time they choose to stay at our properties."
                       Alessia De Gregori
                       Hotel Majestic Roma (Rome, Italy)

"Bryan’s presentation was not only interactive, but very effective and thought-provoking as it left me pondering on the simple principles that we so often forget to apply as leaders. After getting back to work, I was eager to get my team members not only to understand their function, but to also appreciate their purpose in creating a culture of service excellence."
                    June Kyula
                    Nairobi Serena Hotel (Nairobi, Kenya)

Be sure to visit www.engagemenow.com to purchase some of Bryan’s great customer service products. 

About Bryan 

Bryan K. Williams is the Chief Service Officer of B.Williams Enterprise, LLC.  He is a seasoned service expert, who has facilitated workshops and delivered keynotes all over the world for various companies.  Bryan speaks on a variety of topics related to service excellence, employee engagement, and organizational improvement.  As a consultant, Bryan works closely with companies to design, develop, and implement sustainable service strategies.

We exist to serve others so they may better serve the world. SM

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Contact:

B. Williams Enterprise, LLC 
Website: www.bwenterprise.net
Email:  info@bwenterprise.net 
Phone: 240-401-6958 

EngageMe…the voice of your customer 
Website: www.engagemenow.com
Email: info@engagemenow.com

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Also See: 5 Star Leadership: What Does It Take to Be a 5-star Leader? / Byran Williams / February 2009
5 Stars vs. 4 Stars: What’s the Difference? / Byran Williams / January 2009
Complimentary training with Bryan Williams / January 2009
The 7 Principles of EngageMeTM is now available! / Bryan K. Williams / November 2008
Hiring and Engaging a World-Class Team / Bryan K. Williams / October 2008
Great Ideas for National Customer Service Week 2008 / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008
Delivering World-Class Service Part 3: Company Service Standards / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008
Delivering World-Class Service Pt. 2: Personal Service Standards / Bryan K. Williams / September 2008
Delivering World-Class Service: Function vs. Purpose / Bryan K. Williams / August 2008
Guest Problem Resolution 101: Power of the Follow-Up / Bryan K. Williams / June 2008
7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers – Part 2 / Bryan K. Williams / May 2008
7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers / Bryan K. Williams / April 2008
I Am a Service Professional™ / Bryan K. Williams / March 2008
Engage Every Customer…One Touchpoint at a Time / Bryan K. Williams / January 2008
Engaging Service Part 2: It’s All About the Culture / Bryan K. Williams / December 2007
Engaging Service Part 1: Not Just for the Chic / Bryan K. Williams / November 2007
Service Excellence: A Destination or a Journey? / Bryan K. Williams / October 2007
National Customer Service Week is Coming Soon - October 1-5, 2007 / September 2007
National Customer Service Week is Coming Soon - October 1-5, 2007 / September 2007
Engage Me…the Voice of Your Customer www.engagemenow.com / September 2007
Customer Engagement: Where do we begin? / Byran K Williams / August 2007
Engage Me…the Voice of Your Customer / www.engagemenow.com / August 2007
B. Williams Enterprise, LLC Launches Engage Me…  the Voice of Your Customer / August 2007
To Engage…Listen to the Voice of Your Customer / Byran K Williams / August 2007
To Engage the Guest, You Must Engage Those Who Directly Serve the Guest / Byran K Williams / July 2007
Three Service Rules: The Golden Rule, Platinum Rule, and Double Platinum Rule/ Byran K Williams / June 2007
The Greatest Bellman I Ever Met… / Bryan K. Williams / April 2006
Sorry to Say…But Some People Should Not be Serving Other Human Beings / Bryan K Williams / October 2006
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