The Service Quiz.
By Gene Ference
Thursday, 11th May 2006
Can you and your staff pass the "Mother's Day Service Quiz?" Do you provide efficient service excellence? Do you service your guests as well as your Mother took care of you? More importantly, do you provide service your Mother would approve?

Would You Do It For Your Mother?
What is the first service oriented task you can remember of which you were a beneficiary? Chances are that whatever it was, it was your Mother that gave you that service. Mother's are really good at service it seems. Not that Fathers and other family members aren't good, but Mothers take the cake when it comes to service!

Mothers cook for you and feed you, they clean and pick up after you, they tote grocery bags, do your laundry and do a whole lot more—even if they have a full-time job to go along with all that!

With Mother's Day just around the corner, as a member of management in a hotel, casino, resort, restaurant or club, can you and your staff pass the "Mother's Day Service Quiz?" Do you and your staff provide efficient service excellence in all aspects of your tasks? Do you service your guests as well as your Mother took care of you?

More importantly, would you now provide your guests with the kind of service that you would offer your own Mother? Let's see... (And no, those questions weren't part of the quiz—they were merely soul searching, thought provoking teasers to get your brain into service mode.)

#1. Do you communicate effectively with both your staff and your guests?

  • Do you allow communication to flow both to your staff as well as from your staff up to management?
  • Do you encourage communication between your staff and your guests?
  • How do you measure the flow of communications in your department or property?
#2. Do you promote continuous improvement in the work environment and show sensitivity to customer satisfaction?

  • Do you spend time on the floor and use a "hands-on" approach to learn what goes on between staff and guest?
  • How do you know what it will take to improve the work environment for your staff?
  • How do you know what it will take to elevate customer satisfaction?
#3. Do you promote teamwork, both for the benefit of staff as well as for improved service to the guest?

  • Do you encourage departments to share information, communicate and enjoy working together?
  • How do you know what can be done better in order to have your team reach peak performance?
  • How do you know what interactions between team members positively or negatively affect guests?
#4. Are you able to identify problem areas and solve problems in a timely fashion?

  • Do you know why you have problem areas and why problems keep coming up—often with the same staff members?
  • How can you eliminate bottle-necks and inefficient procedures that both frustrate team members and cause service to suffer?
  • How can you ascertain guest wants and needs overall and within certain departments?
#5. Do you provide leadership that will enable staff to reach their goals and objectives for service excellence?

  • Are you visible to your staff and do you set a good example for them to follow—do you "lead the charge?"
  • Have you talked with and asked your staff what is most important to them in a leader?
  • How do you get feedback on goals, objectives and your leadership abilities?
Were you able to answer all of the questions? Your ability to do this, is alone, a step in the right direction. It is, however, not enough! In order for service to be as good as Mom used to serve up, you need continuous information from both staff and guests. HVS/The Ference Group can provide that information to you—gleaned from both team member satisfaction surveys and from guest satisfaction surveys. These surveys will both give management a great deal of insight into what is actually happening at your property.

In some cases, there will be overlap, thus confirmation, in answers. Such comparative data is what we call "where the rubber-meets-the-road." That is the gap analysis between guest and employee perceptions of the levels of product and service. At other times, survey answers will seem to be coming from opposite spectrums, but they all go into an analysis of the organizational culture.

In all cases, answers will be analyzed and used to improve overall guest satisfaction through various means, including through improved service. Over time, trends can be tracked and systems can be utilized to see just how improvements are being made. Because of the confidential nature of these surveys, a true picture of what is happening and what is needed will be painted by both staff and guests.

After all, everybody has a Mom. Moms were the first service providers, they continue to lead the way. Your commitment to service excellence should follow in their footsteps. No matter if you are in charge of the kitchen, laundry, purchasing, housekeeping, food & beverage, some other department, or maybe you are the head tomato, improving service is the key to future success. Would you do it for your Mother? If so, then do it for your guests as well!

Additional articles can be found in our management library. www.theferencegroup.com

For more information regarding development programs, contact, Gene Ference, President, HVS/The Ference Group. [gference@hvsinternational.com]

HVS/The Ference Group provides programs in TeamStrategics: organizational development, business health assessments, and strategic planning. Our clients include successful applicants for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Employer of Choice, Best Human Resources, Employer of the Year, Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For as well as quality of work life and service culture awards of Great Britain, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, The Netherlands and Singapore.

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