Operations

Is Your Employee A ‘Dirty Towel’?

Tom Halligan
Posted on May 23, 2017
How to create a companywide service culture was the topic at a March 14 session among panelists (L to R): Tyrone Gale, Atlantic Transportation Services, southern Delaware; Rusty Goodwill, senior operations trainer, MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas; Bob Beutel, ALLSTAR Chauffeured Services, Troy, Mich.; and moderator Diane Forgy, Overland Chauffeured Services, Kansas City, Mo. (LCT photo)
How to create a companywide service culture was the topic at a March 14 session among panelists (L to R): Tyrone Gale, Atlantic Transportation Services, southern Delaware; Rusty Goodwill, senior operations trainer, MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas; Bob Beutel, ALLSTAR Chauffeured Services, Troy, Mich.; and moderator Diane Forgy, Overland Chauffeured Services, Kansas City, Mo. (LCT photo)

Rusty Goodwill, senior operations trainer with MGM Resorts International, uses the “dirty towel” example to reinforce to hotel staff the individual and collective effects on customer service.

“When a guest checks into a room, everything is immaculate and there are three towels in the bathroom, but the next day, the guest returns to the room and notices there are only two clean towels and a dirty towel on the floor. So now the guest’s perception is the entire room is dirty. The point is an employee can’t be the ‘dirty towel’ the guest remembers.”

Goodwill knows some employees think they are only cogs in the wheel, “but if five employees do a great job and one doesn’t, that’s the one a guest will remember about their experience.”

Goodwill commented during a panel discussion, “Strengthening the Relationship with Your Clients,” held March 15. Moderated by Diane Forgy of Overland Chauffeured Services, Kansas City, Mo., the panel also included Bob Beutel, ALLSTAR Chauffeured Services, Detroit, Mich., and Tyrone Gale, Atlantic Transportation Services, southern Delaware.

Leading By Example
The panel’s overall message to conference attendees was it’s not just about handing staff standard operating procedures, but management leading by example to reinforce the importance of ensuring every member of your staff is committed to exceptional client services every day and every trip.

“I’ll personally go to the airport and greet a new client and my chauffeurs will see me shining a limo because you have to create a culture of service by leading by example,” Gale said. “You have to display your commitment to client service so your staff takes it seriously as well as the responsibility for engaging and taking care of clients.”

Beutel added, “You have to engage all employees at every level about the importance of client service, from reservationists and chauffeurs to the back-end support staff and accounting, and you have to look at your procedures and manuals as ‘living’ documents that reinforce service as your company culture.”
“Client service starts at the top,” Forgy said. “We think of ourselves as being in the transportation business, but we have to think of ourselves as being in the hospitality business because we want to raise our value to clients — the way they look at us and value our service.”

Stronger Client Bonds
Strengthening client relationships also means being accountable, Beutel explained. “Three trips out of 1,000 may go wrong, and you have to make it right. For example, if you know a chauffeur will be late, inform the client so you can handle it before it becomes an incident report. And then tell the client it won’t happen again. That’s what we call service recovery and helps everyone create a culture of service.”

Goodwill added, “At MGM, it’s all about what we can do to engage our guests and create loyalty. All of our competitors have nice beds, rooms, casinos, and restaurants, but nobody returns because of our nice pillows. They return because our employees created a personal and memorable experience for them.”

Related Topics: client feedback, customer service, Diane Forgy, employee management, How To, ILCT 2017, industry education, staff training

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