|Fire Your Client: How and When Should you Refuse to Serve.|
By Mila Petruk ~ Exclusive Column
Tuesday, 6th August 2013
Exclusive Feature: In hospitality industry, we believe that our guests are always right, we even expand the meaning 'guests' to our suppliers and even employees.
Bonus programs, social incentives, special offers are there to attract more business and make us more successful and efficient. However, does more business mean better business?
The answer is ‘no’. And there are situations when we feel that our clients have not shown respect to our culture, have not used our service in the appropriate way and therefore have completely and disgracefully undermined the relationship between service organization and the clientele.
In order to survive in these situations, and in order to generate more ‘better’ business, we have to remember that the client should be sometimes rejected. Or fired, if we can put it that way.
The following points describe the most typical situations when we need to refuse serving the guests:
1. The guest harms the entire format of the organization. The behavior is a demonstration of ‘what should never be done by the guest’. Moreover, this behavior offends other guests. The factor of ‘harmful client’ can never serve as a motivator for the staff to demonstrate their conflict management techniques.
In real life, by taking efforts to solve the situation, you are showing other guests that you accept such behavior as normal. And what is even worse, ‘harmful guest’ becomes part of your infrastructure and hotel services. So if one of your guests wants to enjoy the day, and ‘harmful client’ spoils everything, the guest will never take notice of the fact that he is not part of the whole scene. ‘Harmful guests’ strongly associate with the hotels themselves and ruin their reputation.
2. The guest does not like some employees and readily shows it to everyone. This is the case when the hotel service is undermined by one severely negative customer. All the rest of people are non-voluntarily involved in a situation that has taken place, and the only solution to this is either replacing the employee with the one higher in hierarchy or asking the guest to leave. In some countries, these cases are due to male and female discrimination, which is typical to some of the religious groups.
3. The guest is intoxicated. In this situation all guests should be fired, even those who accompany the guest. Legally most countries allow the hotels, restaurants, and other public establishments to refuse serving intoxicated individuals. However, these should also include those who are taking drugs. Not solely alcohol consumption creates problems, but all types of drugs, too. All individuals who are in any state of being intoxicated with alcohol and (or) drugs should be refused to serve. There are no exceptions to this rule. And once the establishment supports its policy, the guest loyalty will also be rising dramatically.
4. The guest who seems strange and not adequately behaving. Every service organization seeks for unity in everything, and the guests are essential part of it. For good reason, hotel photographs always include happy guests, and these ‘guests’ are carefully selected to represent the whole target market. If someone who is completely out of the target market interferes with the stylish surroundings of your organization, it will be noticed and believed to be inappropriate. And the only one to blame in this case would be the staff who do not see people ‘with problems’.
5. The guest who is recognized for his (her) ability to not be able to pay. Of course, we know that this is not nice to judge people for their outfit, but in service industry it is all about knowing your guests. Just the same as in No.4, guests are usually judged for belonging to the target market of the organization. Those who do not correspond with the expectations of how the guests should look like, what their hairstyle should be, or what language they should use, are falling in the category of ‘doubtful people’ who can be, under certain circumstances, refused to be served. We have to remember, that the ultimate goal of business is to earn money, and those who hinder this process should be avoided, or ‘fired’.
These five cases do not only represent the hospitality industry. Other service organizations also imply a set of rules for ‘firing’ their clients.
In our consulting business, we also have to deal with ‘firing’ clients sometimes. And by using these cases (or generally spoken types of people) for each situation and for each client or guest, you would not only learn more about who you serve, but also avoid serious problems which these four types of ‘clients’ tend to bring with them.
This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
Mila Petruk is a hospitality consultant and a founder of Milina Outsourcing Management (MOM) which provides consulting to hotels and restaurants including mystery guest audit, temporary staffing and training support. Being a hospitality industry enthusiast, Mila has a global insight into the developing trends of hotel and restaurant business all over the world.
Having a rich international hotel work experience and an MBA from one of the reputed Swiss hotel schools, she has applied it in almost every hotel department she had worked. Contact Mila at email@example.com.
Mila writes a regular column for 4Hoteliers.com.