العربية
s

Hospitality session

11 February 2014


Share the Article
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

The winning formula: Happy employees + happy guests = huge profits

“I want the Government of the Future to be as close to its citizens as hotels” – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Customer service is the core mission of the leading hospitality organizations around the world. Addressing one of the key challenges to governments worldwide, Gerald Lawless, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group and Dillip Rajakarier Chief Executive Officer of Hospitality, Minor Hotel Group – Thailand both talked about their experiences and insights on customer service management.

They agreed that the principles in improving and enhancing customer experience in hospitality sector can also be applied in the government sector. These hospitality experts also tackled the key tools and tactics to gear organizational culture to the design and provision of a “seven star” customer experience.

The ultimate goal of organization is profit. It takes financial form in business, and public welfare in the case of public entities. Either way, all organizations live to attain this, it is only by empowering the people behind these organizations that exceptional customer service can be achieved.

“I was quite taken up when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said the government of the future should be open to people 24/7,” Rajakarier said. “This all boils down to providing an exceptional service, whether it is in the hospitality or the government sector.”

Rajakarier said there are different kinds of guests – corporate, group, leisure, and so on – and there are also different customers for the government, depending on the sector the entity is serves.

“In the government, it could be tourism, health, security, transportation, and so on, but what’s important here is how you get the service culture embedded in what they do?” he said.

Key to attaining this service culture is in employing and continuously motivating the “winners”. And winners don’t necessarily have to be leaders.

Lawless recounted a story of Bachir, a doorman from Karachi, whom he described as “the best doorman I have ever seen.” Bachir, he said, has reached the ceiling and promoting him to be in the administration would not be beneficial either to him or the company.

“If we promote him and put him in the admin, we will destroy him,” he said. “So what we created is a concept called Colleagues of Exceptional Value.” While Bachir continues to do what he do best as a doorman, Jumeirah had created an incentive where he was promoted from one grade to another, creating motivation and inculcating loyalty to the company.

“Not everyone can be a leader otherwise there will be a chaos,” he said. “Some people will say I don’t want the responsibilities of a general manager. All I want is to be the best valued doorman.”

The next step is to empower these winners by making them enjoy working. “There are two types of people, those who work to live, and those who live to work,” Rajakarier said. “In our company, we want our people to work to live. And we have to empower them to be such.”

Ten years ago, Lawless said they have invited 20 CEOs to tell them what they think about Jumeirah. He said one was impressed that the company staff never said NO as the first response but he also commented that the company does not give authority to junior staff to make decisions.

“If you don’t trust your employees, you won’t be able to empower them,” Lawless said.

Measuring the performance of the staff through a systematic and effective way is also vital. In the case of Jumeirah, the company employs an agency that commissions mystery shoppers to gauge satisfaction. This agency also measures other international 5-star hotel performance; hence Jumeirah is able to get itself benchmarked with the best of its peers.

In addition, the company measures the satisfaction of employees by asking the down line staff to grade their superiors.

“It’s all about making your employees happy. If you have happy employees, you have happy guests, and happy guests will give you profits,” Lawless said.